Free NHS Care History

by Stephen Squires, with a little help from Derek

In 1948 the NHS Act was passed which provided everyone in the UK with the right to free health care from 'cradle to grave'.

On 1st. April,1993 the 'Care in the Community' scheme came into existence. This ended the practice of the family doctor (GP) certifying that somebody needed to move from their own home to a care home with the Bill being sent to the DSS. Instead, Social Services were to assess if this was necessary and either pay from County funds or means test the residents. There was little opposition to the principle, but some concern at the details.

In 1995, the Government ordered H.A.s. and S.S.D.s to apply the same procedure to those ill in hospital. This came into effect in 1996, but the Court in 'Coughlan' ruled that the scheme was 'flawed' and went 'well beyond' what the law permitted as, under the Health acts, the N.H.S. is 100% responsibile for those whos 'primary needs are health needs' and/or have 'disabilities'.

No action was taken to address and amend what was happening and as a result the Ombudsman now says everybody back to 1996 should be re-assessed, in effect to determine whether they do/did have 'health needs or disabilities' . 'Means testing' to determine (decide) who should pay for their care is unlawful because nobody can be made to pay for what the law says is theirs free by right.