Royal College of Nursing general secretary Christine Hancock is calling for clarification on the issue of long term care funding.
Her actions come after a recent High Court ruling, in a case brought by Pamela Coughlan against the North and East Devon Health Authority, which stated that all nursing care should be funded by the NHS.
Hancock believes that the ruling effectively means that the eligibility criteria of many health authorities are now unlawful and is asking the Government for a clear signal that these criteria should now be amended.
In a letter written recently to health secretary Frank Dobson, Hancock said: “While nursing care is provided free in hospitals, at home, and in residential homes, it is means-tested in nursing homes.
“Because the majority of people in nursing homes are older people, the effect of the current system is to discriminate on grounds of age.”
Hancock added: “The RCN proposes that the cost of nursing within nursing homes should be separated from the accommodation (hotel) costs and funded by the NHS.”