Buckinghamshire cash row hits service users

Around 45 people with mental health needs or learning
difficulties in Buckinghamshire are without care places because of
a dispute between Buckinghamshire Health Authority and
Buckinghamshire Council over who should pay for them.

Buckinghamshire Health Authority is writing to clients on the
transfer list, some of whom have been waiting two years for a place
in a care home, explaining that they cannot meet the cost of their

In 1996, health and social services agreed that the NHS would
pay 50 per cent of all shared care placements, despite the health
needs of the client. But after two years the health authority
realised that this formula created a financial burden which it was
unable to meet.

Last October Buckinghamshire Health Authority proposed a revised
policy, which would mean that the authority would contribute to the
costs of the predicted health needs of the individual.

But the council has argued against the revised policy because it
would not be able to meet the extra costs generated if the
proposals were made policy. It receives among the lowest levels of
social services grant in the country. Council leader David
Shakespeare highlighted the problem of “inadequate national
funding” for social care services.

“Unfortunately, the high cost of provision is forcing many
nursing and care homes out of service, leaving those who could have
been cared for in these homes blocking vital NHS beds,” Shakespeare

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