Additional £1.174m funding to NHS Highland for adult care to be proposed
The Highland Council’s Administration will be proposing an additional £1.174m to NHS Highland for adult care, as part of the 2017/18 budget which will be considered on Thursday 16 February.
Council Leader Margaret Davidson said:
“These are financially challenging times for all of the public sector. Since making our budget proposals we have again met with our partners at NHS Highland, to discuss the funding for adult social care. The Council and NHS Highland have agreed to work together on the vital job of building services in our communities to help prevent older people being admitted to hospital and then finding themselves unable to get back home. If we succeed at this task we will free up far more money to re-invest in services.
“The outcome of our recent discussions is that the Council Administration will on Thursday, be proposing to provide an additional £1.174m to NHS Highland towards the adult social care budget in 2017/18. Recognising the importance we place on our commitment to preventative spend, we will fund this adjustment to our proposed budget on a one-off basis from the Council’s reserves.”
Under Integrated Care in the Highlands, NHS Highland is the lead agency for the delivery of Adult Health and Social Care. The Council currently pays NHS Highland over £91m annually for the delivery of this service. In cash terms the Council’s overall budget will be increasing by less than 1% next year but the proposed adjustment to Adult Health and Social Care will see that budget increase by over 4%.
Cllr Davidson added: “We will be continuing discussions with NHS Highland to ensure that their investment in integrated Children’s Services also remains a high priority in our overall strategy of preventative care for future generations.”
Councillor Drew Millar, Chair of the Education, Children & Adult Services Committee said: “Highland Council believes in providing early support to people who may otherwise be vulnerable.”
“This support can be critical to helping individuals and families to address the difficulties and challenges that they face. It can help people to remain independent, meaning that they don’t require greater and more costly support at a later stage.”
“As well as being the right thing to do, Highland Council’s Administration believes that this makes best use of the public pound. Indeed, it has been estimated that one pound spent on early support, can avoid ten pounds having to be spent in future years. That makes very good sense.”
The Scottish government’s draft budget announced an extra £4.580m to be added into the Adult Health and Social Care budget and paid direct to NHS Highland, rather than forming part of the local government grant settlement. The Social Care budget faces a number of demand led, cost, and demographic pressures and this additional funding will be required to meet these.
As part of this funding settlement the Council would be permitted to reduce its contribution to Adult Health and Social Care by up to £3.48m. Recognising the wider budget challenges faced by Highland Council the current budget proposals include a reduction in the adult social care funding of £1.174m, but not to the maximum level permitted by the Scottish Government. The new proposal significantly reduces the saving forming part of the current proposals, with the effect of imposing none of the reduction permitted by the Scottish Government.
Highland Council has invested in a range of preventative services. These include health services for young children and families, which are normally the business of NHS Highland, but which Highland Council has seen as important in providing essential support for families before children start nursery and school.
Other preventative services include the programme of activities run by Highlife Highland for older people, held at a range of community venues, including art and gentle exercise classes, family history sessions and social groups in libraries. There are personal and employability support services for young people who have lived in care. There are also dedicated services operated by 3rd sector and voluntary groups, for carers and young carers, and for other vulnerable groups.
Preventative services involve moderate spend to address needs at an early stage, and to prevent such needs from escalating. These various services cost the Council around £4million each year, and they will be protected as part of the proposals presented in this week’s budget.
Preventative measures were regarded as critical to ensuring the future delivery of public services in the national report published by the Christie Commission in 2011.