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Early intervention, independence and integration key to Adult Services budget

Friday, 17 January 2014

Hampshire County Council's Adult Services budget for 2014/15 and 2015/16 will see greater joint working with Health, and increased focus on early intervention and reablement services, enabling people to live as independently as possible, for as long as possible.

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health will be considering proposals to meet a 12 per cent cut in spending that needs to be in place by April 2015. Government grant has been cut by 43 per cent since 2010/11 and the unprecedented financial challenges look set to continue for years to come.

She said: "One of our biggest challenges is in meeting the increasing demand for social care from Hampshire's ageing population, which is growing by about 1,000 each year. This, combined with the more complex care required by older residents and adults with learning disabilities, is putting significant pressure on the Adult Services' budget, adding £10 million a year to the cost of care. Greater integration with Health will be crucial for the financial stability of adult social care and the maintenance of key services related to hospital discharge and reablement."

The Council spends around £1 million every day on adult care and Adult Services is the second largest area of spend within the County Council with a gross budget of £436 million. Budget proposals focus on transforming and providing a wider range of services to better manage demand and support people to live independently for as long as possible - improving their wellbeing and quality of life. In doing so, enabling the Council to focus more on those with the greatest or most complex need, including the increasing numbers of people with dementia.

This would include expanding'reablement' services that are offered to help people leaving hospital regain their confidence and independence. In future, reablement would be offered to everyone in receipt of adult social care.

Most people want to remain in their own home and this is where the Council is seeing the greatest increase in demand. Home care services would be changed to put more emphasis on interventions that enable people to live more independently, for example Telecare wireless alarms and sensors. People would have their care reviewed more regularly to enable greater flexibility and to ensure any changes in need can be adapted to. By re-commissioning home care services, Adult Services would also seek to address some of the weaknesses in the care market to ensure all care workers are offered consistent training and fairer rates of pay.

People using services for care at home would continue to be assessed to ensure they pay no more than they can afford to contribute to their care. Hampshire County Council pays for the cost of care above the individual's contribution, and all proposed charges for 2014/15 take into account a small inflation increase of 2.2 per cent this year.

Reducing reliance on expensive residential care and enabling people to live in a home of their own with support, is not only more cost-effective but enables people to live independently for longer. The investment in Extra Care Assisted Living will continue apace, offering both older residents and adults with learning disabilities the opportunity to live in a home of their own with the reassurance of having 24 hour care and support on site.

The environment in which social care operates and the way it is funded is continually changing. Work with the five Clinical Commission Groups (CCGS) in Hampshire has been positive and the announcement by Government of the Better Care Fund will help us to continue to drive forward integration. The fund, which has been established to drive integrated commissioning and the joint delivery of services with Health, will total around £75 million for Hampshire by 2015/16 - £20 million of this is already in the Adult Services' budget and a further £20 million is needed to secure social care services which are essential in order to meet the on-going growth in demand.

Councillor Fairhurst said: "To keep up with change, and to be able to deliver quality services that meet the needs of Hampshire residents who need our help, we need to modernise our care services and work differently. The savings proposals for Adult Services seek to provide better outcomes for people by increasing their independence and providing a fair and equitable service. This strategy will ensure we can fund support for people with complex needs, including the increasing numbers of people with dementia."

Before Councillor Fairhurst considers the budget proposals, they will be reviewed by the Safe and Healthy People Select Committee. Councillor Fairhurst will make recommendations to the Leader and Cabinet, who on 7 February will agree the final budget recommendations to the full County Council. This will meet to make the final decision on 20 February.

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