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Last Updated: Friday, 16 July, 2004, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
Continuing Care Q&A

In the "Fighting for care" film, Panorama follows three couples as they are forced to do battle with the NHS system of 'Continuing Care' and encounter delay, obstruction and injustice. But what exactly is continuing care and what are they battling to keep?

What is NHS Continuing care?

It's often called long term care, and is a general term that describes a care package that people can receive over an extended period of time because of illness, accident or disability.

If you are eligible the NHS will provide and pay for a full care package that meets your needs - from nursing support to accommodation. That support can be given anywhere - in a hospital, a care home, or in your own home.

Who is eligible?

You are eligible if your primary need is health care.

That means that you need frequent medical help rather than only help with washing or dressing or mobility for example, which would be judged as social care needs and the responsibility of social services.

Each of the 28 Strategic Health Authorities have a set of eligibility criteria which helps them assess who is eligible, and they're all based on guidance from the Department of Health .

That central guidance says you may be eligible if you have what are described as complex, intense or unpredictable health needs. Essentially, an assessment is carried out which determines whether you meet your local eligibility criteria.

How can I apply?

To find out which Primary Care Trust is responsible for your area, and how to contact them, click on the link below.

They will be able to send you a copy of the eligibility criteria. It is worth reading them and thinking about which criteria you feel you meet before an assessment is carried out.

You may be automatically offered an assessment when you are discharged from hospital. You can request one by contacting your GP, district nurse or social worker.

If you have any concerns about issues raised in this Panorama programme, you can get advice by calling the BBC Action Line.

The Action Line no is: 0800 88 88 09

The Action Line is open from 7am until midnight everyday. When the Action Line is out of hours, or when all advisors are busy on other calls, callers will be offered details of other relevant organisations.

Fighting for care
12 Jul 04 |  Panorama
The struggle with continuing care
16 Jul 04 |  Panorama
Where is your SHA?
18 Jul 04 |  Panorama
The couples
18 Jul 04 |  Panorama
Your comments
16 Jul 04 |  Panorama

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