Understanding and addressing variation and inequalities in NHS continuing healthcare

We're undertaking a project to explore variation and inequalities surrounding continuing healthcare in more detail.


Published: 23/05/2024

Project status: Current

NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) is a package of care provided outside of hospital that is arranged and funded solely by the NHS, but provided largely by social care, for individuals over 18 who have significant ongoing health care needs. People whose health is rapidly deteriorating or are approaching the end of life may be eligible for fast-track funding. 

If a person is assessed as eligible for CHC funding, the integrated care board (ICB) (previously CCG) must legally provide that funding, irrespective of the number of people that are referred and assessed as eligible. CHC is a vital but hugely complex area of health and care that is often poorly understood, even by those in the system and difficult to navigate by people seeking support.

About this project 

We are undertaking this project to explore variation and inequalities in relation to CHC in more detail. In particular, it aims to:

  • Better understand factors affecting CHC variation 

  • Where possible, explore the relationship between CHC and patient/local characteristics (including deprivation, patient need, and demographic characteristics such as gender and ethnicity) 

  • Understand what – if any – action local systems are taking to address this variation, and 

  • Identify implications and recommendations for the health and social care system. 

The project has been part-funded by the Nuffield Foundation. 

Website: www.nuffieldfoundation.org 

X: @NuffieldFound


What we’ll do 

This is a mixed-methods project. It will include: 

  • Analysis of publicly available national data to identify variation 

  • Engaging with national and local stakeholders and people with lived experience of NHS CHC

  • Freedom of information requests to NHS England and integrated care boards 

  • Interviews with individuals in a sample of integrated care board areas 

  • A workshop with stakeholders to develop recommendations for policy and practice 

Project outputs

Findings from the research will be published in a Nuffield Trust report, which will be made available on our website. Please keep an eye out for updates from us.  


The project began in January 2024 and will run until December 2024. 

Project team

Rachel Hutchings, Natasha Curry, Emma Dodsworth, Miranda Davies