We’re a week away from the first budget from our new government. Social care is high on the agenda and is expected to be a key aspect of the new Chancellor’s speech. Back in December 2019 the government committed that Councils would receive an additional £1bn for adult and children’s social care in every year of the parliament, along with a pledge to consult on a 2 per cent precept that would enable councils to access a further £500m for adult social care for 2020-2021.
Reports this week have confirmed that many councils are aiming to raise their council tax by up to the maximum 3.99 per cent in a bid to stave up struggling social care services. There is no doubt that demand for social care services will remain high. Even with additional funding, increased demand and increasing costs mean the sector is under extreme pressure.
Continuing healthcare (CHC) makes up a large proportion of the funding for care and the government 2018/19 mandate to NHS England stated that ‘the identified large efficiency opportunities requiring concerted action across the system… are a critical part of balancing its budget’1.
A total of £855 million from the budget for NHS continuing healthcare has been earmarked as an efficiency saving. To achieve this, the Treasury has called for four improvements:
- clarity around the national framework (better data and benchmarking)
- better commissioning of care
- local CCG efficiencies
- improved processes through supporting staff with training and development2
With these budget challenges coming from two sides, it’s never been more important to have complete understanding of who needs to receive care and from which budget. Earlier this month, Which? magazine published analysis of NHS data which showed significant variation in continuing healthcare – for example people in Salford were nearly 18 times more likely than those in Luton to get funding (211 vs 12 people per 50,000 in receipt). Clearly demographic differences could explain this variation, but the challenge is how the framework is applied locally.
Independent dedicated resources that assess applications for CHC, manage any backlog and keep pace with reviews are key to ensure that those people meeting the requirements for CHC support receive it. At CHS Healthcare we have over 20 years’ experience working with the NHS and Social Care. We have a whole system approach and give impartial advice by applying the national framework fairly bearing in mind lawful limitations and this means we can support consistent application reducing variation across the system.
- DSHC, The Government’s revised mandate to NHS England for 2018-19 (May 2019), paragraph 2.8. For 2019/20, the Government published its mandate as part mandate as part of the NHS Accountability Framework 2019-20 (May 2019)