Whole-Person Care

Today, Shadow Secretary for Health Andy Burnham gave hope to all in the country with his and Labour’s vision for the future of health and social care provision.

I was delighted to attend the launch of his Whole-Person Care policy review which outlined the parameters in which Labour was seeking to take health and social care in the future.

In 1997, the scandal was waiting lists. People in this country were dying while they waited for operations and because of that, meeting targets became a priority area of focus for the Labour administration. But the challenges that faced the sector at the end of the last decade and is becoming ever more apparent now requires a shift in priorities.

Andy Burnham argued for wholesale integration of Health and Social Care. The Conservative and Liberal Democrat’s Health and Social Care Act 2012 was condemned and he pledged to repeal it if Labour came back into power. In fact, the whole discussion abut the Act itself ended up being all about Health and had a ‘we’ll deal with the social care bit later’ approach.

What he did concede was that the reform that Labour brings in will work with the bodies that he inherits in 2015 if Labour win the next general election. The NHS had already undergone straining top down organisational change under this Tory Liberal Government and it would not be right to make them do it again. Instead, he indicated that there would be a refocus on what these bodies do. Health and Wellbeing Boards should be the main commissioning body and Clinical Commissioning Groups would be advisory. These new Boards were best placed to shape both health and social care provision through one budget.

English: NHS logo

It would also mean commissioning of adaptations in the same process in recognition that this saves money in the long run and delays the need for expensive care provision because of risk aversion.

At the moment, we are faced with a situation where people have physical needs, mental health needs and social needs, but there is a lack of coordination between the services. One person, three care services. The gaps between them are frankly dangerous.

Council services are being cut to the bare bone and our projections show that in Brent, the budget shortfall because of cuts and rising demand to our social care services by 2020 will be £45 million. The Local Government Association has said that if this area is not reformed then money spent on more ‘popular’ services will reduce around the country by 90%.

A full transcript of Andy Burnham’s speech can be found here – LINK

The Whole-Person Care approach was well received by the audience which stretched well beyond the party faithful and starts a landmark process to truly reform health and social care services for the better.

Advertisements

£907 million funding gap for London Councils projected within five years

New analysis has revealed that there is a projected £907 million funding gap in London Council budgets by 2018 due to social care pressures.

Indeed Brent’s own projections show that there is a £45 million gap due to care pressures by 2020. The projections are accurately mapped out and take into consideration factors such as, cuts to Council budgets, the rise in the elderly population, the fact that younger and working age disabled people are living longer with long-term conditions too.

The one element where there is cost uncertainty is in charges. Social care provision is means-tested and with rising levels of poverty and a squeeze on other disability and housing benefits, we may find that more will be provided with free or heavily subsidised services because of the nature of means-testing.

budget
budget (Photo credit: The Survival Woman)

London Councils currently spend a third of their budgets on social care. The Local Government Association (LGA) in a separate report in June last year warned that without reform, the public can expect a cut of 90% of funding in popular services such as libraries and leisure centres.

Indeed in the first budget of the current Council administration the two significant areas of overspend and pressure on top of the front loaded cuts to Brent Council were adult social care and children in care. Unfortunately this received about zero attention though.

The report provides a great case for wholesale health and social care integration and more support to local authorities. You can read the full report here LINK

Lisa Nandy MP’s article on library services

I’d like to recommend Lisa Nandy MP’s article which highlights that local authorities around the country – and may I add regardless of political affiliation – are being placed in great difficulty to meet the Government’s frontloaded cuts targets without affecting frontline services.

The Coalition Government’s cuts are just too deep and forcing the removal of vital frontline services such as libraries. In fact in Brent 6 are due to close, one of which, I am a regular user of, located within my Ward. It is unfortunate to have such a vital local service removed because of national decisions having local consequences.

27% – £98 Million Cuts to Brent Council

Before the elections, we did know that we would have to make £50 million cuts. After the elections, this figure grew in the region of £63 million. The June 2010 Emergency Budget and the Comprehensive Spending Review as well as yesterday’s announcement from Eric Pickles has pushed this up to a massive £98 million plus. We cannot touch Council Tax.

Our Council Budget is around £284 million. Taking £98 million out of a £280 million budget is terrifying when you come to think about it.

Sarah Teather’s ConDem Government’s cuts are deceptive. The Comprehensive Spending Review said that Government cuts were around 19%. However, we in Brent have to make cuts of around 27% over the next four years. This is typical Tory treachery as the difference in the figures show that these cuts are designed to have the face of Local Government plastered across them.

There are Authorities that are less organised than us and to be fair with the previous administration processes that they started setting in motion mean that we have already delivered £10 million in savings. In that sense, we are in a better place than other Boroughs.

The cuts are front-loaded. Next year, we have to make £36.7 million in savings. The One Council programme will deliver £21 million of this which means that we have to somehow find £16 million from somewhere. In 2012 we will have to make further cuts of around £24 million; £14.5 million in 2013 and £23 million in 2014. As you can see, compared to local services, high earners are not even being touched by the cuts.

Brent Council disproportionately impacted by Osborne’s ideological cuts

Following the Comprehensive Spending Review, Brent will not know in detail our precise settlement from Sarah Teather’s Coalition until mid-December.  What we do know is that these cuts will be front-loaded.

To put things into perspective, there are two astonishing facts about Teather’s Government’s cuts.

1.       The average cut that Departments have to make following the Comprehensive Spending Review fall in the region of 19%

2.       Brent Council has to make cuts of 27%

That’s right 27% – making the cuts disproportionately impact on local Councils. Indeed the cuts are designed to have the face of the Local Authority on them when in fact they are stemming from the Coalition Government.

I’ll be blogging more on the cuts in the next few days and weeks ahead.