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Continuing NHS health care: Making sense of the confusion

Part one: The legal position

2 June 2003

In part one of this two-part article, Caroline Bielanska clarifies the legal position and the relevance of the special report for those acting for the older, vulnerable client.

The background

Care provided by the NHS is free at the point of delivery, while care provided by social services is means tested. The responsibility for funding nursing care is a grey area, despite the introduction of free nursing care by a registered nurse, brought in by the Health and Social Care Act 2001. In many ways, the 2001 Act has made the problems worse and this will be further expanded later in this article.

After the introduction of the National Health Service Act 1946, care would be provided within the NHS at its expense for any person who needed little or no medical treatment, but required prolonged nursing care. Section 23 of the National Health Service Act 1977 gave the then district health authorities power to buy beds outside the NHS, often in nursing hom...

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