Council funding will help ease winter pressure on local NHS services

Barnsley Council’s Cabinet Members will be asked to approve the proposed use of the Government’s additional adult social care funding to help address anticipated pressures over the winter period, at their next meeting on Wednesday, 20 February.

In October last year,  as part of the Autumn Statement, the Government announced some  £240m additional funding for councils to help alleviate winter pressures on the NHS, by getting patients home quicker and freeing up hospital beds across the country. 

The additional funding, which has been made available in 2018/19, is intended to reduce the number of patients that are medically ready to leave hospital but are delayed because they are waiting for adult social care services.

It is expected that councils focus on:

  • Helping to reduce extended lengths of stay in hospital and delayed transfer of care.
  • Improving weekend discharge arrangements so that patients are assessed and discharged earlier;
  • Speeding up the process of assessing and agreeing what type of social care is needed for patients in hospital.

Barnsley was allocated £1.238m for 2018-19. This funding is in addition to the council’s planned spending on adult social care.

Discussions on the proposed use of the funding have taken place with the Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group and other health partners in Barnsley, including Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SWYPFT). The proposed plan has also been reported to the Urgent and Emergency Care Delivery Group. 

Cabinet members will be asked to approve the following spend:

  1. Increasing social work assessment capacity (£374k)

To ensure that hospital discharge cases continue to be prioritised and to speed hospital discharge during the winter period, it is proposed to increase the social work capacity in the hospital social work team, including extending opening hours; locality teams and in the Care Home Review team.

  1. Additional hospital weekend management cover (£33k)

This proposal is to ensure there is adequate management cover for the hospital social work team over the weekend and extended hours. This would ensure there is one senior manager on call.

  1. Increased Occupational Therapy capacity (£52k)

It is proposed to increase capacity within the Occupational Therapy Team and within the SWYPFT equipment & adaptation team to ensure hospital discharge cases are prioritised.

  1. Additional reablement capacity (£110k)

It is proposed to fund increased reablement support (including at weekends) to speed hospital discharge and prevent re-admission. Funding is also intended to increase the capacity of the service to act as the provider of last resort in cases where independent sector home care providers are unable to pick up care packages. The allocated funding equates to an additional 80 hours per week support.

  1. Additional social care packages (£637k)

It is proposed to secure and make provision for extra home care and residential care packages in anticipation of increased demand during the winter period. This would include establishing, through a procurement process, additional homecare providers to pick up care packages that the Support To Live At Home (STLAH) providers cannot accommodate. In addition, the option to secure additional homecare capacity through the temporary payment of enhanced rates (non-recurrent / outside the framework contracts) and/or other staff incentives would be explored.

  1. Brokerage capacity (£32k)

It is proposed to fund additional capacity within the Adult Joint Commissioning Unit to broker and manage the placement of homecare packages with new providers (outside the existing STLAH framework).

The funding requirements for the above proposals have been calculated based on a full year basis; however, the impact would be reported to the Government for the winter period only i.e. November 2018 to March 2019. While the funding is required to be used in 2018-19, it is assumed that any balance of funding at the end of March 2019 can be carried forward into the following financial year.

In recognition of the need to provide continuity and sustainability of funding, the Government has confirmed a further £240m for the same purposes in 2019-20. Barnsley’s allocation for 2019-20 is £1.2m.  

The report can be read in full here.

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