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London Council Takes Initiative To Integrate ‘Health & Care’


London Council appeals to the government to provide clear cut instruction so that better systems can be implemented by using the sanctioned fund for better local service systems.

Dailycsr.com – 06 July 2015 - London Councils strives further for integrating the issues related to our health with the methods of taking care. Jim Ranger reports about the looming “uncertainty” over the future of BCF or the Better care Fund. It is still unpredictable as to which direction the future trend is likely to direct itself, therefore London Councils fear that it could jeopardise the “large-scale health integration” within the lifetime of the present parliament.
The London Council “represents the 32 boroughs and the City of London”. Currently, it has appealed to the government to provide clear guidance so as to set respective direction before the summer ends. The reply of the said request will affect the workings of the BCF for the financial year of 2016-2017. Consequently, the boroughs and their associates can have ample time “to plan ahead.
In the month of June 2013, the said fund was sanctioned for bringing in a drive to transform “local services” which in turn would provide an integral care and support system. The fund accumulates the money, whereby it gets “deployed” in local centres through a system of “pooled budget” which is coordinated “between local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups”. Moreover, any plans have to be approved by Health & Wellbeing Boards before working on it.
The executive health member of London Council, “Councillor Teresa O’Neill OBE” commented that:
“London’s boroughs are committed to playing a positive and collaborative role in reforming health and care in the capital. Integration of health and care is central to achieving lasting reform, and building on existing success is a key part of this process.
"Despite BCF being dogged by administrative challenges, London Councils continues to support the Better Care Fund as a vehicle to drive forward integration. The principle of pooled funding and joint planning between local government and health is sound and has achieved pooling of £5.3 billion of NHS and social care funding to date.
“However, we believe the government has to act before the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) to clarify what direction the Better Care Fund should take in 2016/17. Delay could undermine our achievements and will limit the potential for further progress next year.”
The London Councils has been active in identifying “eight core principles” which would chalk out a path which should be followed by the BCF in the financial year of 2016-2017. The principles also incorporates “the scope and scale of the fund” along with “making prevention” and the scope of an “early intervention” as “a mandatory component”, whereby it also blocks the possibilities of “nationally-mandated ‘payment for performance’ target”.
As per London Councils, their eight core-design principles are:
•    “Extend the scope
•    “Make prevention and early intervention a mandatory component of every plan
•    “Expand the scale by doubling the minimum amount to be pooled national from £3.8 billion in 2015/16 to £7.6 billion in 2016/17
•    “Local BCF and sub-regional operational resilience planning should be aligned by including operational resilience funding in the BCF pooled budget
•    “End the nationally mandated payment for performance target
•    “Strengthen alignment of commissioner and provider plans
•    “Reduce bureaucracy and monitor intelligently
•    “Require local areas to submit a roadmap of how they will move towards full integration of health and care by 2019/20 at the latest, alongside their BCF plan for 2016/17.”
Furthermore, Cllr O’Neill adds:
“One of the lessons so far has been the need for sensible timetables and clear guidance to give local partners time to work up collaborative plans. London Councils believes there is a danger of the process stalling during the next financial year unless the government provides clear and timely direction that sets out its ambitions.”