Staffordshire County Council is to prioritise spending on its key care responsibilities – as part of contingency plans to manage a potential community care funding shortfall.
The council is reviewing its discretionary spending while it finalises the funding arrangements with the Clinical Commissioning Groups for Staffordshire’s Better Care Fund, a national scheme aimed at encouraging the NHS and councils to work together to shift resources into community care for the benefit of people, communities and the wider NHS.
Staffordshire is one of a number of areas still to agree its BCF plan for 2016/17 and the current £15m funding gap has been escalated to the Departments of Health.
Alan White, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing, said:
As a county council we want to see more people living healthier, active, independent lives, keeping out of hospital and supported in their homes and communities for as long as possible.
The Better Care Fund is a national scheme which is designed to support this by encouraging health partners and councils to shift focus and funding into community care for the benefit of residents and the wider NHS service.
Staffordshire’s BCF plan for 2016/17 has still to be agreed due to a significant funding gap in the expected contribution from the NHS and this has now been escalated to Government.
Until this is resolved, it is sensible for the council to see if further savings can be made in our own running costs, look to prioritise funding of the care of people who rely on the council’s help the most and review any additional funding we currently provide to the NHS to see where further efficiencies can be made.
At a meeting of Staffordshire County Council’s Full Council in May it was announced that the county council has put a temporary hold on all non-essential spending in its running costs.
A further report to the council’s joint Corporate Review and Healthy Staffordshire Committee on June 13 outlines some areas, where the county council has provided additional funding to the NHS, which could see further efficiencies and savings delivered.