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
    care.

    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
    said.

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