A THIRD of adults with ongoing health needs were denied free NHS care in Mid Essex over the summer, latest figures show.

Adults needing care and support outside hospital can apply for a free package of care known as NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC).

The fully-funded support covers a person's care and residential accommodation, but is only available to those assessed by health professionals to have complex or unpredictable needs.

NHS England figures show 165 fast-track or standard assessments were completed in the NHS Mid Essex CCG area between July and September, with 67 per cent deemed eligible.

When a person's health is rapidly deteriorating and they are approaching the end of their life they may be allowed fast-tracked CHC care.

All 91 fast-track applications were granted in Mid Essex over the three-month period, but just 20 of the 74 standard applications were.

Eighty per cent of the 200 assessments in the North East Essex CCG area between July and September qualified.

All 125 fast-track applications were granted, compared to just 35 of the 75 standard applications.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said eligibility is assessed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all of an individual’s needs.

But Age UK charity director Caroline Abrahams said: "This situation is grossly unfair on older people and their families, especially those with no one to speak up on their behalf.

"They can end up paying enormous care bills which should have been the responsibility of the state.

"The legal battles over this can go on for years, way beyond a person's death, leaving a really a bad taste in the mouth for the families left behind."