Continuing healthcare

Continuing healthcare

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30 June 2022


Some people with long-term complex health needs qualify for free social care arranged and funded solely by the NHS. This is known as NHS continuing healthcare.

Am I eligible for NHS continuing healthcare?

NHS continuing healthcare is for adults. Children and young people may receive a “continuing care package” if they have needs arising from disability, accident or illness that cannot be met by existing universal or specialist services alone.


Find out more about the children and young people’s continuing care national framework on GOV.UK.


To be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare, you must be assessed by a team of healthcare professionals (a multidisciplinary team). The team 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 is not provided at the right time.

Your eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare 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.


You should be fully involved in the assessment process and kept informed, and have your views about your needs and support taken into account. Carers and family members should also be consulted where appropriate.


A decision about eligibility for a full assessment for NHS continuing healthcare should usually be made within 28 days of an initial assessment or request for a full assessment.


If you are not eligible for NHS continuing healthcare, you can be referred to your local council who can discuss with you whether you may be eligible for support from them.


If you still have some health needs, then the NHS may pay for part of the package of support. This is sometimes known as a “joint package” of care.

Information and advice

The process involved in NHS continuing healthcare assessments can be complex. An organisation called Beacon gives free independent advice on NHS continuing healthcare.


Visit the Beacon website or call the free helpline on 0345 548 0300.

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