Some NHS officials are working as private consultants and are charging frail pensioners’ relatives for help securing care funding, an investigation has revealed.
The senior managers, who are paid by the health service to oversee applications for the funding, are charging up to £400 a day for help trying to obtain such grants.
One health official told the Telegraph that after using her private services a family had been awarded an NHS grant worth “thousands and thousands and thousands, like two years’ worth of nursing home fees”.
Another was offering to secure funding for services in the area where he worked.
Any patient with a significant health problem – such as dementia or Parkinson’s – should have their care and nursing fees paid in full if the condition is deemed to be the main reason they need help.
If the NHS decides that help is required simply because someone is frail or elderly, this falls under social care, which is means-tested.
Increasing numbers of people are being denied the funds, leaving them facing bills of up to £100,000 a year.
In the last five years, average eligibility per 50,000 population for the funding has fallen by nearly 15% from 69.33 per 50,000 in 2014/15 to 59.53 in the second quarter of 19/20.
Undercover reporters met several NHS officials who said they worked with families as private consultants to secure Continuing Healthcare (CHC) funding.
Farouq Ogunseye, who is a project lead for Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said he charged £300 a day, was able to secure funding for about 40% of the cases he worked on and was handling up to 10 or 11 cases a month.
Another consultant overseeing CHC applications for two CCGs in the north of England said that in previous cases she had worked on she had been able to overturn some of the levels recorded in the documentation, which meant that an individual’s need went from “moderate to high….from high to severe”.
A spokesperson on behalf of Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCGs’, where Ogunseye worked, said that prior to being alerted by the Telegraph the CCG had been “unaware that one of their Continuing Health Care contractors is allegedly also offering paid consultancy work to local families. Appropriate action has since been taken”.
Ogunseye said that the CCG had suspended his contract pending an investigation.