The Coronavirus Act 2020: Key Updates for Vulnerable People
The Coronavirus Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 25th March 2020. It brings with it some temporary but important updates to the Care Act 2014, Mental Health Act 1983 and to NHS Continuing Healthcare.
NHS Continuing Healthcare
The National Framework sets down guidance for the completion of assessments for continuing healthcare. Continuing healthcare or “CHC” as it is more commonly known, enables a person to receive free care, fully funded by the NHS in certain circumstances.
Under the Coronavirus Act, all CHC assessments have been put on hold. This is due to the reduced capacity and higher demands placed on the NHS at this time.
As a result, new or extended support packages provided during the Coronavirus crisis will be funded under CHC until a full assessment can be made. This allows people who are potentially eligible under the scheme to be discharged from hospital with maximum efficiency and minimal administration.
Mental Health Act (1983)
Detention under Sections 2 and 3 of the Mental Health Act has been made more flexible under the Coronavirus Act. As a result, detention can now be made on the advice of one doctor, as opposed to two. This amendment was made in response to the increased demand on Doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This amendment has been made to ensure that those most in need of support at this time can continue to access services for treatment.
Local Authorities have a huge number of statutory duties under the Care Act 2014. In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Coronavirus Act seeks to lift some of these restrictions to ensure greater flexibility for the Local Authority to prioritise help for those most in need.
Local Authorities are now able to choose the people and the needs they ought to prioritise during the COVID-19 restrictions and they are currently not duty-bound to meet all needs as they would ordinarily have been under the Care Act 2014. They have the power to decide whether to undertake an assessment of a person’s care and needs and whether to undertake financial assessments during this crisis.
Most Local Authorities will be seeking to prioritise those needs assessments which are absolutely critical at this time.
Registration of Deaths
The Coronavirus Act has made the registration of deaths more efficient and straightforward, in order to meet potential for high demand whilst reducing face-to-face contact for registrars and people alike.
As a result, deaths may now be registered over the phone or “by other means” as determined by the Local Authority.
In addition, Funeral Directors are now being permitted to register the death of a person for whom they are instructed to carry out the funeral. This is an extension of the usual categories of people who are able to register a death.
If you would like more information on the impact of Coronavirus and how this affects you, Talk to Tollers Elderly and Vulnerable Client team on 01604 258558 and they will be happy to assist you.