Better Care Fund clawback betrays integration strategy

Posted on July 14th, by geoff in CT blog. 2 comments

By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson

Should there be a remaining few who still need to be convinced that the current government, like its predecessor, is making social care policy on the hoof, the grab-back of money allocated to councils as part of the Better Care Fund should do the trick.

Announced in June last year, the Better Care Fund was a single pooled budget of £3.8bn meant to support health and social care services to work more closely together in local areas. It would ‘ensure a transformation in integrated health and social care’ said the Government.

That worthy goal has now been set aside and the Government has told local authorities to give Better Care Fund money back to the NHS if hospital admissions are not reduced. So much for even a medium-term strategic policy for integrating health and social care.

It bodes ill for older people who lack the means to fund their own care – they look like losing out in both health and social services as government scrabbles about looking for short term fixes to delay the inevitable crunch.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

2 responses to “Better Care Fund clawback betrays integration strategy”

  1. Bob Ferguson says:

    It is important to recognise that the £3.8bn is not new money; the thick end of it has been filched from acute sector budgets. It is not unreasonable, therefore, for the NHS to expect some payback.

  2. It should be recognised that the clawback of the £1m means a significant shift of risk back to local authorities, who can’t be certain that they’ll receive the grant for services that have to be funded up-front. So they have to cover the cost without any guarantee of getting money back.

    It’s also very short-termist because it means that most BCF plans will have to be rewritten and re-submitted within weeks – how are local authorities and other stakeholders meant to engage with social care providers, let alone people using care and support services and carers?

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