NHS-funded nursing care

What is NHS-funded nursing care?

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NHS-funded nursing care covers nursing or medical care.

It’s non means-tested and paid whether you’re paying for your own social care or your local council is (Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland).

Can I get NHS-funded nursing care?

You might be able to get NHS-funded nursing care if:

  • You don’t qualify for NHS continuing healthcare, but you’ve been assessed as needing care from a registered nurse, and
  • you live in a care home that’s registered to provide nursing care.

How does the NHS Nursing Care Contribution work?

First, your care needs are assessed to see if you need NHS continuing healthcare. This usually happens after you’ve been discharged from hospital.

If you’re found not to need continuing NHS healthcare, you might still be assessed as needing nursing care in a care home setting.

In that case, the NHS (or Health and Social Care Trust Northern Ireland) will pay a contribution towards your nursing fees.

It’s paid to the care home to reimburse them for the nursing care they’re providing for you.

If you’re paying all your own fees, which include nursing costs, the amount you’ll end up paying will be reduced by the NHS-funded nursing care amount.

If you only pay some of your care costs, you might still be better off.

The care home must show you how the NHS-funded nursing care reduces your fees. If you don’t see any difference, ask them about it.

The funding will stop if you have to go into hospital. This is because you’ll be getting free nursing care in hospital instead. But you’ll probably still have to pay the care home the full fee to keep your room.

If you no longer need nursing care, your NHS-funded nursing care contribution might stop.

Can I receive the NHS Nursing Care Contribution if my stay is only temporary?

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If you need nursing care in your own home, this will be provided free by the community nursing services.

This is usually arranged through your GP’s surgery. If your needs are complex, it will be funded through NHS continuing healthcare.

NHS-funded nursing care should still be paid if your stay in the care home is temporary.

If you’re staying for six weeks or less, you won’t have to be formally assessed.

Instead, your need for nursing care will be based on information the care home or your GP provides.

NHS-funded nursing care can be a useful contribution towards costs if you need regular periods of respite care.

How much is Nursing Care Contribution?

The amount of Nursing Care Contribution paid depends on where you live in the UK

Region
Rates of NHS-funded nursing care

England

£183.92 a week for the standard rate, and £253.02 a week for the higher rate. (The higher rate only applies if you were receiving the higher rate in 2007 before the single standard rate was introduced.)

Wales

£179.97 a week

Scotland

£81 a week for nursing care and/or £180 a week for personal care – up to a total of £261 week (2020/21 rates). See Age UK Scotland’s website and download the ‘Care home funding’ PDF for more information.

Northern Ireland

£100 a week (2019/20 rate)

How do I apply for NHS-funded nursing care?

The NHS usually arranges for an assessment of your needs when they discharge you from hospital. If this doesn’t happen, ask your GP or social worker to arrange for an assessment.

Who pays for NHS-funded nursing care?

Your nursing home’s local Clinical Commissioning Group, Health Board or Health and Social Care Trust is responsible for meeting the cost of care provided by registered nurses.

If you’re paying for your own care and would prefer that the Clinical Commissioning Group, Health Board or Health and Social Care Trust didn’t take on this responsibility, your wishes will be respected.

Does getting NHS-funded nursing care affect my other benefits?

NHS-funded nursing care will not affect your entitlement to other benefits.

However, in Scotland, if you’re getting a Personal Care allowance, you won’t be entitled to Attendance Allowance or the care component of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment after the first four weeks.

What other NHS services are available in care homes?

When you’ve been assessed, you might find you’re entitled to other help from the NHS.

This might include continence aids or specialist support or services such as:

  • chiropody
  • physiotherapy
  • pressure relief mattresses
  • mobility or communication aids.

More information on NHS funding in care homes and the Nursing Care Contribution

  • Read the ‘NHS funding for care and support’ factsheet on the FirstStop website
  • Read the ‘NHS Continuing Healthcare and NHS-funded nursing care’ factsheet on the Age UK website
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