“The sudden shift in focus, so late in the process to prioritise delayed transfers of care, and the threat of a review of funding allocations if associated targets are not met, is completely unacceptable to local government."
Responding to the Better Care Fund Planning Requirements published yesterday, that stipulate how social care and NHS funding to support integration is to be spent, including the £2 billion announced in the Spring Budget, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said:
“The sudden shift in focus, so late in the process to prioritise delayed transfers of care, and the threat of a review of funding allocations if associated targets are not met, is completely unacceptable to local government.
“Councils cannot now have confidence to plan for the long-term. We have had assurance that no more than 10 per cent of funding would be affected by the performance review and that all the funding would stay with councils. But the principle is wrong and difficult in practical terms; councils have already agreed their plans locally and made commitments on how to spend this year’s allocation.
“This is extremely disappointing and a step back for integrating health and care. It has left the LGA with no choice but to withdraw our support for the guidance.
“Councils are doing all they can to reduce delays in getting patients out of hospital and back into the community. But social care is about far more than alleviating pressure on health. It is a vital and essential service in its own right.
“Councils face an annual £2.3 billion funding gap in social care by 2020 because of pressures elsewhere in the system. This is why it is vital councils have freedom and flexibility over how the money is spent.
“Ultimately, this publication undermines integration, increases the difficulty of making important preparations for meeting increased demand during the winter, and is likely to make the social care crisis worse.
“The LGA is committed to working with government to find a way forward and resolve these issues that are in the best interests of local communities.”