Since the announcement of the £3.8 billion Better Care Fund (BCF) in June 2013, Councils and their NHS partners have been working to develop plans for the transformation and integration of health and social care services to ensure local people receive better care. The BCF is a pooled budget that shifts resources into social care and community services for the benefit of the NHS and local government.
WM BCF Plans
The approval of all 14 West Midlands BCF plans in January 2015 was the signal for Health & Wellbeing Boards to put their plans into action. Whilst plans are individual to each local health economy, all 14 plans share some common objectives:
- To reduce non-elective admissions to hospital
- To reduce delayed transfers of care from hospital
- To increase the effectiveness of reablement services, and
- To reduce the number of permanent admissions of older people to residential and nursing care homes
The success of BCF plans will provide an important early indicator of efforts to integrate health and social care, and quarterly monitoring arrangements, led by NHS England, are now in place. This will provide us with the opportunity to learn from what is working – as well as what isn’t – and to move forward collectively and at increased pace.
Of equal importance is the need to develop longer term plans for integration with NHS colleagues and other partners and to learn from the early movers in this field – for example the region’s Integration Pioneer and New Models of Care ‘Vanguard’ sites.
Alistair Neill, CEO at Herefordshire Council is local government lead for BCF/Integration in our region.
Through the regional improvement plan Martin Samuels (Staffordshire County Council) supported by IEWM Associate Paul Johnston is supporting BCF leads from each council and sharing good practice that has been emerging.
Additional regional support for integration is planned and will strengthen the links between regional activity and the national Better Care Support Team.