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Last reviewed: June 2022

Adults in England with long-term complex health needs may qualify for NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) – free social care arranged and funded solely by the NHS. A person has to have particularly intense, complex or unpredictable care needs. There’s a detailed assessment and decision-making process to establish whether someone has a ‘primary health need’ (meaning their care requirements are primarily for healthcare rather than social or personal care needs) and meet the criteria for this funding.

Your eligibility for CHC depends on your individual needs and not on any particular diagnosis or condition. To be eligible, you must be assessed by a team of healthcare professionals – this process is set out in The National Framework for Continuing Healthcare and NHS-funded Nursing Care.

If as a child you’ve had a Health Continuing Care Package for Children with Complex Needs there’s no guarantee the NHS will continue to fund your care at the same level – you’ll need to be reassessed as an adult.

Beacon: advice, guidance and tips about assessments and appeals, as well as a free help-line.

If you do have a primary health need and are eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare, the NHS is responsible for commissioning a care package that meets your needs. Your assessment will have considered your specific needs and any resources offered to support you should take into account how you wish your assessed needs to be met. Depending on your situation, different options could be suitable including support in your own home and the option of a personal health budget.

For more information:

NHS.UK: Continuing Healthcare