Many people don’t realise that there is a difference between health and social care, including that the former is free and the latter is means tested.  For example, ‘health’ care is free, and provided and funded by the NHS. 

NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHS CHC)

NHS Continuing Healthcare, sometimes referred to as ‘NHS continuing care’ or ‘fully funded NHS care’, is the term used when the NHS is responsible for paying for all the care and support required by an individual with ongoing health care needs (referred to as having a ‘primary health need’) provided outside of hospital. Such care can be provided to any individual aged 18 or over, to meet needs that have arisen because of disability, accident or illness.

Where an individual is eligible for NHS CHC, the funding of the whole package of assessed care, including accommodation if needed, becomes the responsibility of the relevant Integrated Care Board (ICB) as opposed to the Local Authority’s Adult Social Care department. Eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare differs depending on where you live in the UK, so it’s important to access timely and accurate advice as early on as possible if you think you may be eligible.

Local Authority Funding

In contrast, The Local Authority (as opposed to the NHS) is only bound to provide social care services.  For example, an individual who requires support getting dressed and washed in the morning and with transferring from room would be deemed to have social care needs.  In this case, it would fall into the Local Authority’s remit and would not be the responsibility of the NHS. 

If you do are not eligible for NHS Continuing Health Care, you can approach the adult social care department of your local authority to request an assessment of your ‘social care’ needs via something called a ‘needs’ assessment. Anyone is entitled to a care ‘needs’ assessment, regardless of your financial circumstances.  A representative from your local authority, such as a social worker, usually visits you to discuss your needs and to decide with you what actions should be taken. 

Only once an individual has been assessed as having an ‘eligible’ care need should a financial assessment be completed to determine who pays for what.  The financial assessment differs depending on whether someone is receiving care in a care home, at their own home, or elsewhere.


If you would like clarity of your own situation, what you could be entitled to, and how to prepare for assessments, then My Care Consultant can help.

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If you have specific questions, a problem that needs fixing, or would simply like to ensure you are on the ‘front foot’ with your care planning to ensure you receive the care that’s needed and deserved, you might feel you need some tailored help and support.  That’s why we offer our personalised 1:1 telephone/online guidance sessions, where we take the time to get to know every single one of our clients and provide a personalised plan of action. Arrange yours today.