In the case of R (Joan Green) v South West Strategic Health Authority, the court concluded that the decision of the Strategic Health Authority review panel, relying upon eligibility criteria for continuing healthcare published by the health authority’s predecessor, which meant that the claimant was found not to qualify for continuing NHS care, was lawful.

The judge decided that the eligibility criteria were to be read as a whole, and were to be looked at together with supplementary guidance produced by the Strategic Health Authority to ascertain the criteria the Strategic Health Authority should apply.

The facts leading to this decision took place prior to the introduction of the current continuing care eligibility framework in England but it underlines the need for the panels to consider the needs of the individual as a whole and consider whether the primary need is a healthcare need. As long as the primary healthcare need test was applied, any guidance setting this out should be lawful.