A very important change has been recently announced concerning the way “retrospective” applications for Continuing Care Funding will be handled.

In many cases people with significant health care needs and their families seek an assessment to establish whether the costs of care, either in their home or in residential accommodation, should be funded by the NHS.    Following decisions of the Health Ombudsman some years ago it became possible to apply for a “retrospective” assessment, which could lead to a refund of care costs paid privately, and this could even be sought after the person concerned had died.

The Department of Health has now announced a time limit within which claims for assessment must be made.    Essentially if you want an assessment relating to a period of care between 1st April 2004 and 31st March 2011 you must seek an assessment not later than 30th September 2012.    If you want an assessment for the period commencing 1st April 2011 the deadline is 31st March 2013.    The responsibility for these assessments is being transferred to a new body, and the indications are that for the future there will be a 12 month period within which applications for retrospective assessments must be made.   Given the attitude to Continuing Care Funding often displayed by the authorities, I think we can assume that these deadlines will be applied strictly.    Anyone considering challenging a funding decision should act promptly, and this is particularly the case where a “retrospective” application would be involved.

James Matthews