The Department of Health published the above document for consultation on 2 October. Consultation concludes on 31 December 2008 and the Department of Health will then take approximately three months to evaluate the responses made and publish the new national framework in its final format.

The consultation document centres around two tools designed for use in the assessment process. These are:

  •  a continuing care pathway; and
  •  a decision support tool.

The difference between NHS continuing healthcare for adults and children’s continuing care is set out clearly in the consultation document, which explains that:

Children’s continuing care is different from NHS continuing healthcare for adults. Children’s continuing care means a package of care needed over an extended period of time for children with complex healthcare needs which arise because of disability, accident or illness. It may require services from the NHS and/or social care to enable the person to function. The needs of children and young people are generally more diverse as inevitably there will be elements of their overall care which will require support and funding from education and/or social services which will necessitate joint working between the agencies. Each agency remains responsible for funding their own contribution to the care package.

It is intended that the new national framework will provide a “transparent and consistent national assessment process” which will allow children, parents and carers to understand the basis on which decisions are made and allow challenge to such decisions.

Don’t forget the closing date for sending in your questions or making comments is 31 December 2008. The consultation document is on the Department of Health website and can be found here.