Birmingham STP offers ‘whole system social care redesign’ to avoid £721m hole

Greater integration of health and social care is needed in Birmingham to avoid a £721m shortfall, local health and care leaders have said as the area became the first sustainability and transformation plan (STP) footprint in the country to publish its draft plan.

The plan said that in a ‘do nothing’ scenario, health and social care in Birmingham and Solihull will face a £721m deficit by 2020, with costs equating to running a 430-bed hospital.

The STP authors found the deficit was caused by too much care being provided in a hospital setting when it could be provided elsewhere, as well as by unacceptable variation in clinical standards and inefficient use of resources.

Mark Rogers, CEO of Birmingham City Council and system leader for the STP, who is also one of the few leaders to hail from a council rather than from the NHS, said: “This situation is set to get worse unless something changes, so organisations have come together in a way they haven’t before, with a real sense of commitment and purpose, to create a draft plan to transform the health and care system.

“Everyone is clear that this is a real opportunity to do things differently, building a stable, sustainable, high-quality, efficient health and care system that works for the people of Birmingham and Solihull.”

The STP contained a number of key proposals to make medical care more embedded in the community. Community-based multi-disciplinary teams will be established to support people with long-term conditions.

As part of the ‘Solihull Together’ initiative, primary and community teams will also be integrated into one service to meet the needs of the patient.

And social, health and education services will work together to provide joined-up care for children, young people and their families.

Cllr Paulette Hamilton, cabinet member for health and social care at Birmingham City Council, said: “I believe this is the right direction of travel and it is vital that we have a fully integrated health and social care system.

“I would like to reiterate on behalf of Birmingham City Council our strongest possible commitment to a collaborative and place-based approach.

“The council has consistently made clear that the funding crisis facing the social care system can only be addressed by a more imaginative whole system redesign and the STP I hope will be the starting point, and I urge people to give their views as part of our public and partner engagement.”

The latest NHS Digital figures show that social care spending fell below £17bn for the first time in 2009-10 last year.

(Image c. Rudolf Schuba)

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