NHS and local authority care and support
32 Currently, patients with social care needs go through a number of stages before they are discharged from hospital. For some patients, one of these stages is an NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHS CHC) Assessment a process that can take a number of weeks. The Bill will allow the procedure for discharge from an acute hospital setting for those with a social care need to be simplified to.
33 There are also duties on Local Authorities in Part 1 of the Care Act 2014 to assess needs for care and support, and to meet those needs. The Bill will replace these duties with a power to meet needs for care and support, underpinned by a duty to meet those needs where not to do so would be a breach of an individual’s human rights, and a power to meet needs in other cases.
34 The Bill also allows that, if a Local Authority has not charged an individual for their care during the covid-19 pandemic, they are able to do so retrospectively after the conclusion of this period subject to financial assessment.
35 The immediate operationalisation of these provisions will involve the ceasing of current practices and is intended to reduce operational burden so local authorities can prioritise the service they offer in order to ensure the most urgent and serious care needs are met.
36 In order to support Local Authorities in operating under the new powers, including making prioritisation decisions in a consistent, and ethical manner, the Government will publish guidance. The clause will therefore enable Secretary of State to support Local Authorities by directing them to comply with this guidance.