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Jeremy Cooper

Spring budget 2017: what will you get for social care, and what should you do with it?

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The very welcome £2bn sticking plaster?

The budget announcement of an additional £2bn for social care including £1bn in 2017/18 was a welcome one.

A table showing the amount of additional funding that each council will receive is available here.

The budget offered a short-term fix and a long-term promise. Let’s focus on the short-term solution for now.

The budget book says “councils will need to work with their NHS colleagues to consider how the funding can be best spent”. With an extra £2.7m per day becoming available on 6 April, we had better start thinking now, and do it well! Our experience of similar discussions (be it over BCF, STP, DTOC or winter pressures) is that they don’t always lead to genuine change! One of our key insights is that the health and care system is a behaviour driven system, and unless we have systematic behavioural change at front line and system leadership levels, we will fail to address the social care crisis in any meaningful way. Getting the right conversations with NHS colleagues in the diary, framed in the right way, is an immediate priority.

The budget book also says “This funding will be supplemented with targeted measures to help ensure that those areas facing the greatest challenges make rapid improvement, particularly in reducing delayed transfers of care”. This is the stick to go with the carrot! There continue to be very many “targeted measures” aimed at this issue nationally and locally, yet delays have increased 27% over the last year. Seeing how these targeted measures do (or don’t) work will be fascinating. There seems certain to be a statutory/regulatory element to this, probably involving CQC. Nevertheless, getting on the front foot and defining success for your local system is a time investment worth making.

As part of our work with a wide range of health and care systems, our expert Health & Social Care team at IMPOWER is already working through these implications. If you would like to share your own reflections, or would like to discuss how to use the extra funding to bring genuine change (or bring fresh impetus and direction to your discussions with health colleagues) please contact us at jcooper@impower.co.uk or hbailey@impower.co.uk.

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