Bill to add to councils’ cash woes

Local authorities are facing significant costs arising from the
Health and Social Care Bill, directors heard.

Kent social services director Peter Gilroy warned colleagues
that although many of the provisions of the forthcoming legislation
could appear quite minor in themselves, the combined effect would
be a loss of income for departments.

In a wake-up call to local authorities, Gilroy raised fears that
the pooling of budgets could lead to money being siphoned from
social care into the acute health sector. He pointed out that none
of the money announced for intermediate care – up to £900
million to be phased in by 2004 – could be found in standard
spending assessment cash and there were fears that it was money
already allocated.

The care management costs for social services departments taking
over the funding of the 70,000 residents in care homes at the time
of the 1993 community care changes needed to be pointed out to
ministers, he added. Changes to the regulations covering capital
allowances before paying for residential care would also make the
assessment process more difficult.

The seminar was told about a growing shortage of nursing home
places in the south east. Aside from the inflationary pressures on
fees, the NHS nurse recruitment drive had resulted in shortages in
the nursing home sector.

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