To be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare, you must be:
- 18 years old or above
- have significant ongoing health needs
- be assessed as having a ‘primary health need’ (see below)
NHS England is responsible for the national framework that outlines the eligibility criteria for CHC funding. The main criteria is that eligibility should be based on your healthcare needs and not on your diagnosis, disease or condition. It is not linked to how much you earn or your savings.
Many people who are assessed for CHC are reaching the end of their lives or have a long term condition because of illness, disability or an accident. You may receive funding for just a few weeks or for many years. And if your needs change, then your eligibility for continuing healthcare may change too.
What is a ‘primary health need’?
A ‘primary health need’ is a concept, rather than a legally set definition. It was introduced by the Secretary of State for Health, to assist in identifying whether a person’s primary need is for healthcare (therefore being the duty of the NHS to provide under the 2006 Act) rather than for social care (under the Care Act 2014). A primary health need would be indicated by the nature, complexity, intensity or unpredictability of health needs, or a combination of these.