Some people with long-term complex health needs qualify for free long-term care arranged and funded solely by the NHS. This is known as NHS Continuing Healthcare, which can be provided in a variety of settings outside hospital (for example, in your own home or in a care home).

To be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare, you must be assessed by a team of health and social care professionals (a multidisciplinary team) who will look at all your care needs and relate them to:

  • what help you need;
  • how complex your needs are;
  • how intense your needs can be;
  • how unpredictable they are, including any risks to your health if the right care isn’t provided at the right time.

Your eligibility depends on your assessed needs, and not on any particular diagnosis or condition. If your needs change then your eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare may change. If you aren’t eligible, you can be referred to your local council who can discuss with you whether you may be eligible for support from them.

Unlike NHS care, care from your local council is based on a financial assessment as well as an assessment of your needs and you may be asked to contribute towards the cost of your care.

How can I get an assessment for NHS Continuing Healthcare?

NHS South East London is responsible for assessing the needs of people registered with a GP based in South East London. Each south east London borough has a dedicated NHS Continuing Healthcare Team. Contact information for each of the teams can be found below:

Borough Email address Phone number
Bexley 020 8176 5631
Bromley 020 8176 5644
Greenwich 020 8176 5656
Lambeth 020 8176 5733
Lewisham 020 8176 5744
Southwark 020 8176 5777

Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not covered below, please get in touch.

What can I expect if I am assessed as eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare?

If you are assessed as eligible, the team who completed the assessment will work with you to develop a care plan. You have the right to receive this service as a Personal Health Budget.

As part of the service you will have regular reviews to make sure that the care you receive is meeting your needs. NHS Continuing Healthcare is only provided for as long as a person needs this level of care, so if your needs have changed the review may find that you are no longer eligible for this service.

What can I do if I disagree with the outcome of my assessment for NHS Continuing Healthcare?

You have a right to appeal the outcome of your assessment. If you disagree with the assessment, the first step is to contact the team who completed it, which will consider your appeal in line with their local process.

If you remain unhappy with the decision NHS South East London has made, you can apply to NHS England and NHS Improvement for consideration by an Independent Review Panel. NHS England and NHS Improvement have published information on their website about this stage.

Once the NHS appeals process is complete you can raise a complaint with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Learn more about the appeals process in our guiding document..

What services are available to help me with the NHS Continuing Healthcare process?

The NHS in England funds an independent information and advice service for people involved in the NHS Continuing Healthcare process from Beacon. This service is supported by a consortium of leading voluntary sector organisations including Age UK, Parkinson’s UK and the Spinal Injuries Association.

Information and advice is accessible in the form of free and comprehensive written guidance, and individuals are also able to access up to 90 minutes of free advice with a trained NHS continuing healthcare adviser on 0345 548 0300.

For further information and to access this service, please see the Beacon website.

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