The Local Government Association and NHS England have today published their planning ‘vision’ for how the pooling of £3.8 billion of funding, announced by the Government in the June spending round, will ensure a transformation in integrated health and social care.
The ‘Integration Transformation Fund’ is a single pooled budget for health and social care services to work more closely together in local areas. The publication today provides a roadmap for local areas to plan in the run up to the fund taking full effect from 2015/16.
Sir Merrick Cockell, Chairman of the Local Government Association said: “The Spending Round was extremely challenging for local government, reducing council budgets at a time of significant demand pressures.
“In this context the announcement of a £3.8 billion pooled budget for integration in the Spending Round is therefore a positive, practical move and can contribute to delivering our goal of using the money in the health and social care system to best effect.
“The fund is an important catalyst for change, and moving more towards preventative, community-based care will help to keep people out of hospital and in community settings for longer. That’s in the interest of the individual and the public purse.
“We were very clear before the Spending Round that integration is the game-changer and we are now working closely with NHS England, Clinical Commissioning Groups and councils on the detail of how this fund will work. Today’s statement is an important first step in that process and we need the space to continue this work.
“It is already clear that health and wellbeing boards will be crucial to this process. They are key to local decision making on health and care and in signing off the plans for how the money is spent locally will play a key role in the assurance process.”
Bill McCarthy, National Director of Policy at NHS England, said: “The spending round resulted in a tough settlement for the NHS for 2015/16. The money to be invested in the integration transformation fund will have to be found by CCGs from budgets which will scarcely have grown from the previous year in real terms. However the fund does create a real opportunity to achieve improved outcomes for people. Our aim is for a health and social care system that is truly seamless so that people receive the right care at the right time in the right place.
“Absolutely central to this is transforming the way health and social care works together in local areas. This requires truly integrated multi-agency working so that local health and social care systems work as a whole to respond to the needs of local people. It is about people being in control and being central to the planning of their care so they receive a service that is right for them.
“A lot has already been done but to succeed we need truly radical transformation. This funding is a catalyst for this change and a real opportunity to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
“The statement we have published today with The Local Government Association sets out a roadmap and structure for local areas to develop their plans.”
Dr Peter Melton, Chief Clinical Officer of North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: This is a tough settlement for CCGs and one that will require us to make some radical changes across the health and social care system. However our experience as an integrated health and social care commissioning organisation has shown that when we integrate service commissioning, supported by pooled funds, we can make a real and positive difference to the most vulnerable people in our community.”