Learning disability budgets due to be transferred from the NHS to councils by next April may not be sufficient to implement Valuing People Now, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services has indicated.
Adass has called for an investigation into the concerns of several councils over funding. It said that many councils had completed negotiations over transferring budgets by the 31 March deadline but some reported “difficult discussions” with primary care trusts.
It pointed to “wide and unexpected variations” in NHS budgets and said councils were particularly concerned over the inclusion of continuing health care funding and the impact of inflation on the transfer sum.
In a statement, joint learning disability leads at Adass, Peter Murphy and Nicola Bailey, told Community Care that in some cases there was doubt about how much the NHS spent on learning disabilities. This created “difficulties in agreeing a figure”.
They said: “We know that cost pressures in learning disability services will intensify and it is important that the national ‘pot’ for social care is maximised so as to protect the needs of service users now and in the future.”
In response, a Department of Health spokesperson said the implementation of Valuing People Now was about “better use of existing local resources.”
Anne Williams, learning disability tsar, asked areas experiencing difficulties to contact her office for support. “It is critical that we have accurate returns on the total spend on social care by NHS bodies, so that we can begin realistic discussions with the Department for Communities and Local Government about allocations for the next Comprehensive Spending Review,” she said.
The news came as the Learning Disability Coalition, made up of 12 organisations, warned the government that there was a £200m annual shortfall in social care services in England. The coalition has written to the Treasury ahead of this month’s Budget with evidence that spending has failed to keep pace with the rise in the number of people with learning disabilities needing care.