A recent Daily Mail article reported unfair distribution of care funding in England, citing the Thames Valley, and South Reading in particular, among the 'worst for providing free care'. We do not believe this is an accurate portrayal of health care provision for the frail and elderly in the region and have issued the following statement.
The Daily Mail article is unnecessarily alarming for patients and their carers at a time when they may be feeling at their most vulnerable. The Mail's story is drawn from data provided by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSIC), yet ignores a key recommendation from that same organisation:
"It is essential to note that there may be variations between [regions] when compared against each other. This could be due to a wide variety of reasons including the age dispersion within the local population, the availability of other community services, and variations between geographical areas in terms of their levels of health needs. These factors therefore need to be taken into consideration when viewing the data and care should be taken when attempting to draw simple comparisons."
While it may be correct to state that other areas of the country are spending more on continuing healthcare, isolating expenditure figures from the overall health economy in this way is neither helpful nor instructive. There is no meaningful comparison to be drawn between the expenditure in different parts of the country, or indeed the numbers of patients receiving CHC support.
We work closely with our partner organisations to understand the needs and concerns of frail and elderly people living in the county. Berkshire residents should rest assured that the four Clinical Commissioning Groups operate within the National Framework for CHC to ensure appropriate provision is in place for each of the communities we care for.
We encourage anyone involved in the care of a relative to speak with their healthcare professional. A Department of Health leaflet is also available which further explains the process used to determine whether an individual is eligible for care funded entirely by the NHS.