Fast Track Pathway Tool for NHS Continuing Healthcare: how to get free care fast
Using the Fast Track Pathway
If you, or someone close to you, has been diagnosed with a rapidly deteriorating medical condition, the chances are you need a package of care, fast. And if you are in what’s known as the ‘terminal phase’ then time is clearly of the essence to put this in place.
So what you don’t want to be doing at this stage is jumping through hoops and waiting for assessments and approvals, when you need the support immediately.
Under normal circumstances, to be approved for NHS Continuing Healthcare – NHS funding for all your care needs outside hospital – you’d need to meet an initial checklist of criteria, followed by a more detailed assessment by a multi-disciplinary team using a Decision Support Tool (DST), which is a method of assessing care needs.
However, if you need care urgently, a medical professional can instead use the Fast Track Pathway (FTP) Tool, removing the need for the DST assessment.
The very fact that your clinician has confirmed your health status using this method means that your Clinical Commissioning Group will automatically assume you are eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare.
How does the Fast Track Pathway Tool work?
The clinician submitting your FTP will need to be a registered medical practitioner or nurse. They’ll also need to have a personal knowledge of your condition and be responsible for your diagnosis, treatment and care. The FTP will highlight all the elements of care you need. This needs to take practicalities into account, such as home environment and complexities of care.
What if I’m refused the Fast Track Pathway?
Life expectancy isn’t the basis for implementation of the Fast Track Pathway. You can still be fast tracked if your condition is rapidly deteriorating and you need a care package without delay but you are not necessarily in the final weeks of life.
When it’s critical to get care into place, don’t be put off by clinicians refusing you the Fast Track Pathway – you can query this and press for one to be submitted. And if you’re still refused, you can raise an objection, especially if you think your clinician doesn’t have enough knowledge of your condition or home situation.
When illness strikes you or a family member it can be hard to start thinking about processes and procedures. But it really is important to make sure the right external care is there for you, and that you are being correctly funded.
Ask your clinician about the Fast Track Pathwayand if it is not offered ask why. If you qualify your care costs will be paid for by the NHS and an appropriate care package can be put in place as soon as possible.
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