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Improving continuing healthcare


Dr Miriam Ainsworth is clinical leader for community and works with the programme manager for continuing health care (CHC) within the CCG structure.


The CCG has adopted a 'whole system' approach to CHC, based on the NHS working in partnership with the local authority. This partnership stems from a joint commissioning strategy, our knowledge of the best purchasing methods, and use of the local authority’s considerable processes and management methods. The providers used for continuing health care are also very largely the same providers used by our local authority for their social care packages.


The CCG has approximately 220 people receiving continuing healthcare funded services at any one time.  The vast majority of patients receive services in a care home, with a far smaller number receiving their package of support in their own home. 


In 2010, the continuing healthcare team commissioned the local authority to ‘broker’ care home placements on NHS North Somerset’s behalf.  There were a variety of benefits of this approach; lower costs of placements on average processes, increased productivity from the nurse assessors, better contractual terms and quality assurance methods, better overall local market management.


This methodology has been shown to be so successful that, in April 2011, we asked the local authority to take on the brokerage of all continuing healthcare care home and domiciliary (patient’s own home) care packages.  A monthly report identified the performance of this service, which is reviewed on a regular basis via the North Somerset Continuing Health Care Steering Group.


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