Under certain circumstances and eligibility criteria, the NHS may fund nursing care costs through the NHS Continuing Healthcare and NHS-funded Nursing Care options.

NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHS CHC)

The NHS funds care for people living with complex medical needs under certain circumstances and can be provided for care outside hospital, such as in your own home, an inpatient unit in a hospice or in a care home.

To be eligible for NHS CHC, you must be:

  • aged 18 years and over
  • assessed as having a ‘primary health need’ by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals as laid out in a legally prescribed decision-making process.

How will my needs be assessed?

Eligibility of NHS CHC depends on your assessed needs rather than a particular diagnosis.

  • Initial assessment: a nurse, doctor, other healthcare professional or social worker will use a standard NHS checklist for this assessment.
  • Full assessment: if you meet the criteria from the initial assessment, the full assessment will be undertaken by a multidisciplinary team. This should usually include health and social care professionals already involved in your care. The assessment considers your needs under a variety of headings and they are marked at levels ranging from ‘priority’ to ‘no needs’. If you have at least one priority need or two severe needs, you can usually expect to be eligible for NHS CHC. You should be told the outcome of the full assessment within 28 days.
  • Fast-track assessment: this pathway should be considered if you’re nearing the end of your life and your health is in rapid decline. An appropriate care and support package can then be put in place as soon as possible.

At all stages, you should be informed of who is coordinating your assessments. You should also receive a copy of the completed checklist and assessment, signed and dated and recording the reasons for the decision to award – or not – NHS Continuing Healthcare.

What happens if I am eligible to receive NHS Continuing Healthcare?

A care and support package designed to meet your assessed needs will be arranged. Your views should be taken into account, including the decision about the best place for you to be cared for, such as at home or in a care home.

Your needs and support package are normally reviewed within three months and then annually. If your needs have changed, the review may consider you are no longer eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare.

What happens if I am ineligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare?

If you are unhappy with the result of the assessment, you have a right to request an independent review, which you should be told about when you receive the final decision letter. To find out more, see the NHS England information about NHS Continuing Healthcare .

You may, however, be assessed as being eligible for NHS-funded nursing care (see below), in which case the NHS will pay a contribution towards the cost of your registered nursing care.

Find out more

For more detail about the NHS Continuing Healthcare assessment process, including the headings under which an assessment is made, see the NHS Continuing Healthcare website page .

NHS-funded Nursing Care (FNC)

NHS-funded Nursing Care is a payment made by the NHS to cover the nursing care component of nursing home fees. It is a flat rate paid directly to the care home.

For 2024–25, the standard FNC rate in England is £235.88 a week.

To be eligible for NHS FNC, you must:

  • be aged 18 years and over
  • live in a care home
  • have been assessed as being ineligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare, but have been assessed as needing care from a registered nurse.

How will my needs be assessed?

You will need to have been assessed for NHS Continuing Healthcare and it’s unusual for someone to have a separate assessment for NHS-funded Nursing Care. This can, however, be arranged via your Integrated Care Board (ICB) – if you think you have a case, discuss this with a healthcare professional who knows your needs.

What happens if I am eligible to receive NHS-funded Nursing Care?

The NHS will arrange and fund your nursing care provided by registered nurses employed by the care home. These services can include planning, supervising and monitoring nursing as well as direct nursing care.

What happens if I am ineligible to receive NHS-funded Nursing Care?

If you don’t agree with the decision, ask your ICB to review the decision.

Find out more

For more details about NHS-funded Nursing Care, see the NHS-funded Nursing Care website page .

Related pages

  • How to pay for end-of-life care: living with a terminal illness or caring for someone who is terminally ill can be expensive; find out what financial help is available.
  • Your rights and benefits at work: find out what you might be eligible to receive following a diagnosis of an incurable illness, including Statutory Sick Pay and New Style Employment and Support Allowance.
  • Planning ahead: a collection of articles that look at planning and decisions for the end of life, including planning care in advance, making a will and Lasting Power of Attorney.

The EPiC Resource Centre is kindly sponsored by Cleenol: working for a cleaner, safer, kinder world.