REDDITCH and Bromsgrove CCG is facing legal action over accusations it could be unlawfully forcing patients into care homes in a bid to save costs.

The local clinical commissioning group is one of 13 across the country accused of moving people into care homes if the cost of their care at home is too much.

Under the NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHS CHC) policy, the CCG is meant to provide funding for care outside of hospital - either in a care home, nursing home, hospice or a person’s own home - to meet physical, mental health and associated social care needs.

But the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) believes their NHS CHC policy is unlawful and in breach of the human rights of patients, and could be forcing some patients into residential care rather than independent living.

It has warned this is a serious breach of the Human Rights Act, the Public Sector Equality Duty and the Department of Health and Social Care’s own NHS CHC framework.

It has now issued legal letters to the 13 CCGs stating they will be taken to court if they fail to provide evidence to demonstrate that their policies are lawful, or do not take steps to review them.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “It is utterly unacceptable that anyone should be forced into residential care when they are healthy enough to live independently and with their families. And it doesn’t make sense for individuals or communities.

“A ‘one-size fits all’ approach will never properly address every single individual’s healthcare needs, and NHS CHC policies are no different.

“This is another example of individuals being disabled by society, and prevented from living as full and independent lives as possible, as is their right.

“We will use our powers to ensure that the NHS thinks about this again.”

The EHRC has raised concerns about the policies having arbitrary caps on funding, which fail to consider the specific needs of individual patient, such as living location and family life.

The commission first aired concerns in October 2017, when it wrote to 43 CCGs demanding more information on their approach.

Following this warning, almost a quarter of those contacted are now reviewing their policies, but the commission deems the 13 remaining CCGs have not considered their human rights and equality responsibilities.

Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG has 14 working days from March 19 to respond, after which decisions about starting court proceedings will be made.

A spokesman for NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG, said: “We’re aware of the letter and it’s currently being reviewed by our legal team.

“We won’t be able to comment any further until this review has taken place.”