‘High risk’ budget gap for South Ayrshire IJB

Papers considered at board meeting warn £5.5m shortfall ‘could have an impact on the health, safety and wellbeing of South Ayrshire residents’

Wednesday 13th March 2019

The body responsible for health and care services in South Ayrshire faces a ‘high risk’ funding shortfall that could ‘impact negatively’ on older people and children who rely on care services

South Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership (HSCP), which is funded jointly by the local health board, NHS Ayrshire & Arran, and South Ayrshire council, has to find savings of just under £5.5m for the next financial year.

This follows disagreement between NHS Ayrshire & Arran and South Ayrshire council over which organisation should have responsibility for providing extra money to plug a £4m funding shortfall in this financial year, prompting the two parties to refer the matter to an independent arbiter.

The warnings about the savings required are revealed in a report to be considered by the partnership’s governance board when it meets today.

The Integration Joint Board, which consists of representatives from the health board and local authority, and sets the direction for the HSCP, has set up a special budget group to find savings.

One area being considered for savings is Care at Home services, but the report states an attempt to reconfigure services has ‘stalled because of the current budget overspend’.

Children’s health, care and justice services are also being looked at to see ‘whether there are any alternative ways of providing the services concerned at a potentially lower cost’.

But the scale of the savings required could affect the quality of the services provided.

A risk assessment states there is a ‘high risk’ the partnership will not have the money to ‘meet the level of need and corresponding demand identified [in its strategic plan]’.

It goes on to warn the ‘non-funding of identified service pressures…could have an impact on the health, safety and wellbeing of South Ayrshire residents’.

To save money, members of the eight member-strong board will be asked to continue making only those in ‘critical’ need eligible for social care services provided by the council.

People judged to have a ‘substantial’ need for care, which includes ‘inability to carry out the majority of personal or domestic routines’ and ‘only partial choice and control over the immediate environment’, will not be eligible.

The risk assessment warns:

‘Continuing to set the eligibility criteria for social care services at critical and continuing to see people delayed in hospital may impact negatively on the wellbeing of individuals and could impact adversely on the reputation of the IJB and [NHS Ayrshire & Arran and South Ayrshire council].’

A spokesperson for the IJB commented:

“The IJB is working to deliver a balanced budget for 2019/20 taking into account available funding which is not yet confirmed and the challenge of meeting increasing demands. Budget papers are expected to be considered at the next meeting of the IJB on 17 April."