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Joint health and social care budget plans launched

A shared vision for the new health and social care funding has been published. The Local Government Association (LGA) and NHS England are planning how to best use the £3.8bn pooled budget to integrate and improve care.

The Integration Transformation Fund (ITF) will come into effect from 2015/16, but councils and CCGs are being asked to work together to develop a local plan by March 2014. 

Conditions for the fund include protecting social care spending, seven day working to support patients being discharged and preventing unnecessary admissions at weekends. Better data sharing, a joint approach to assessments and care planning, as well as risk-sharing principles and contingency plans if targets are not met, will also be developed. 

Sir Merrick Cockell, chairman of the LGA said: “The fund is an important catalyst for change, and moving more towards preventative, community-based care will help to keep people out of hospital and in community settings for longer. That's in the interest of the individual and the public purse. 

“We were very clear before the Spending Round that integration is the game-changer and we are now working closely with NHS England, Clinical Commissioning Groups and councils on the detail of how this fund will work. Today's statement is an important first step in that process and we need the space to continue this work.

“It is already clear that health and wellbeing boards will be crucial to this process. They are key to local decision making on health and care and in signing off the plans for how the money is spent locally will play a key role in the assurance process.” 

Bill McCarthy, national director of policy at NHS England, said: “The Spending Round resulted in a tough settlement for the NHS for 2015/16. The money to be invested in the integration transformation fund will have to be found by CCGs from budgets which will scarcely have grown from the previous year in real terms. However, the fund does create a real opportunity to achieve improved outcomes for people. Our aim is for a health and social care system that is truly seamless so that people receive the right care at the right time in the right place. 

“Absolutely central to this is transforming the way health and social care works together in local areas. This requires truly integrated multiagency working so that local health and social care systems work as a whole to respond to the needs of local people. It is about people being in control and being central to the planning of their care so they receive a service that is right for them. 

“A lot has already been done but to succeed we need truly radical transformation. This funding is a catalyst for this change and a real opportunity to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society. 

“The statement we have published today with the Local Government Association sets out a roadmap and structure for local areas to develop their plans.” 

Dr Peter Melton, chief clinical officer of North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This is a tough settlement for CCGs and one that will require us to make some radical changes across the health and social care system. “However, our experience as an integrated health and social care commissioning organisation has shown that when we integrate service commissioning, supported by pooled funds, we can make a real and positive difference to the most vulnerable people in our community.”

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