Welfare chief accuses NHS over funding

Manchester’s largest Jewish welfare provider has accused the NHS of inadequately funding end-of-life care.

The Fed’s community services director, Mark Cunningham, has also claimed that Jewish families are being diverted away from kosher care homes to save money for the NHS.

Mr Cunningham negotiates public funding for the 150-resident Heathlands Village home run by the charity. He is urging anyone not given Jewish options by the NHS for what is termed continuing healthcare to contact The Fed.

“We have heard about two more families in the last week who have been told by NHS commissioners in Greater Manchester that Heathlands is not on the list of care providers.

“We are expecting more families to come forward. We are talking about people with the most profound nursing needs. They need to be tube-fed, there is a risk of choking, and pain relief needs to be administered.” In one case, the local CCG [clinical commissioning group] of the NHS had offered reduced funding for care of an elderly person which equated to just £3 an hour. “Our argument is that there’s a risk to the individual,” Mr Cunningham said.

Bury CCG was currently offering a “preferred price” of £550 a week, which Mr Cunningham equated to staying in the local Premier Inn with meals.

The minimum cost for continuing healthcare at Heathlands was £750. As a result clients were being sent elsewhere by the authority, which he alleged was “an appalling abuse of the CCG’s power”.

A Bury CCG representative said its placement process identified “a provider which primarily meets the patient’s assessed healthcare needs, takes into account any specific religious, cultural or other needs and offers the best value for money”. The spokesperson did not respond directly to Mr Cunningham’s complaints.

    Last updated: 11:45am, November 18 2013