The Coronavirus Emergency Legislation and NHS Continuing Healthcare

The government has passed in to law emergency legislation – the Coronavirus Act 2020 – aimed at ensuring the NHS and social care systems are able to cope during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) emergency period.  It includes temporary changes to hospital discharge procedures and NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC).

We have read the Act carefully and set out in detail what the changes mean for families who are in, or may be entering, the CHC system. We also set out what you need to do during this time to ensure your right to fair assessment, review and care choices can be exercised once the emergency period is over.

The new laws will last up to two years, but are only to be used during times of emergency – they can be ‘turned off’ if things start getting back to normal in less than two years, and turned on again if needed. We understand that the content of the legislation will be reviewed periodically by MPs to ensure it remains appropriate, and to allow for an element of scrutiny.

What is changing?

Temporary arrangements for CHC will be in place for the duration of the coronavirus emergency period. These cover:

  • hospital discharge arrangements
  • who pays for new care packages
  • the assessment of eligibility for CHC
  • requests to appeal a previous decision of eligibility for CHC
  • reviews of people already receiving CHC.

Why are these changes happening?

The temporary arrangements are being brought in to achieve three objectives:

  • To ensure patients can be safely discharged from acute hospital beds as quickly as possible.
  • To reduce the volume of CHC assessments in all settings.
  • To release NHS staff from CHC, to boost the workforce managing the coronavirus outbreak.

Find out more

We have put together information on the following:

Please note that Beacon, and the CHC Information and Advice Service, will remain fully operational during the coronavirus emergency.

You can get in touch in the normal ways, for free advice or casework support.