Council Cabinet approves £462million joint health and social care budget in Plymouth

Plymouth City Council’s Cabinet has now approved the joining up of health and social care services which includes the pooling of a budget worth £462m.

The decision follows approval from the Governing Body of Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) last week and means the final hurdle has now been overcome.

The agreement is set to radically transform the way health and social care services are planned, purchased and delivered, to improve the experiences and outcomes for people in the city and deliver better value for money.

At present an individual may have someone from the NHS working with them on certain needs and someone from social care working with them on others. This new agreement will ensure that all of an individual’s needs are looked at together.

The joint budget will include all health and social care services purchased in Plymouth by Plymouth City Council and NEW Devon CCG. This covers public health, children and young people’s services (including social care), adult social care, housing, community safety, hospitals and community health services.

The new agreement will mean that some of the big issues across the city like; unnecessary hospital admissions, care of the elderly and most vulnerable, delays in getting people home from hospital and improved community support can be given real focus.

It will bring together skills and expertise from within the Council and the NHS to create a shared view across all health and social care services.

Pending the final approval of Cabinet both organisations will enter the new agreements from 1 April 2015.

As part of the new joined up approach Plymouth City Council will also be transferring its adult social care services to Plymouth Community Healthcare (CIC).

On 1 April 2015 173 members of staff, including social workers, occupational therapists, community care workers, business support administrators and service managers will move across under transfer of undertakings (protection of employment) arrangements.

For a period of time the staff will continue to work from their existing bases and there will be no changes or disruptions to services. People should not expect to see any changes to their existing arrangements.

In time there may be administrative changes to phone numbers, websites and contact points but that will not be from the beginning. People will be given plenty of notice when these things will change.

Steve Waite, Chief Executive of Plymouth Community Healthcare, said; “Plymouth Community Healthcare has an excellent track record in providing high quality care to the people that use our services.  We are confident that we can provide a smooth transition of the staff and services from adult social care into an integrated service.  Ultimately, we want to give the people of Plymouth a range of services that wrap around and support them at a time when they need it most.”

Councillor Ian Tuffin, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care for Plymouth City Council, said: ‘The ambition of the Plymouth Health and Well-Being board is that we have better, more joined up health and social care services.

‘The public have consistently told us this is what they want, so we are making it happen.

‘When I talk to people they tell me how frustrating it is having to tell their story more than once, phoning multiple numbers to get information and feeling confused about where they go for help.

‘We want to address all of an individual’s needs, not just parts of them.

‘The current approach means we are often doubling our efforts and finances. By bringing our budgets together we will be able to plan better and focus on doing the right things for people.

‘The size of what we are bringing together is vast, in fact I have not heard of anywhere else looking at these sorts of numbers.

‘There is an absolute energy, focus and dedication from across all health and social care to get this right, we have a real opportunity and I am excited about what the future holds.’

Dr Paul Hardy, GP from Plymouth and Chair of the Western Locality of NEW Devon CCG, said; ‘It should not be underestimated what we have achieved in Plymouth.

‘We have created a local set of agreements that will enable us to buy health and social care services together, which is unique.

‘There has been a real commitment from the health and social care community to get this right.

‘The current system cannot continue the way it is. Joining up our services is the right solution for Plymouth, this will ensure that the money we do have within our financial envelope is able to go further.

‘For years we have been asking the people who use our services how we could do this better. I am now able to tell my patients that things will start to change.’