Representatives of London’s councils have finally secured a meeting with health secretary Patricia Hewitt to discuss significant levels of cost-shunting from deficit-hit primary care trusts to social care services in the capital.
London Councils, which represents the capital’s 32 boroughs, said it would meet Hewitt next month, after repeated requests to discuss the issue with the health secretary had been turned down.
According to its current estimates, PCTs will pass £22m in cost pressures to councils for 2007-8, for instance through limiting eligibility to NHS continuing care. But a spokesperson for London Councils said this was the “tip of the iceberg” and that it would collect further evidence from members to gain a truer estimate.
The news came as it emerged that former social services director at Tower Hamlets Council, east London, Ian Wilson, had been appointed interim chief executive of Brent PCT, north London, which is locked in conflict with its local council over the former’s claims of significant cost-shunting.
The council has estimated it faces a cost-shunt of up to £15m in 2006-7 and 2007-8, much of it due to restrictions in continuing care eligibility; however, the PCT has claimed it has applied continuing care criteria fairly. Wilson’s contract runs until the end of September.
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