West Berkshire bids for extra cash to deliver modernisation

West Berkshire Council has written to the health secretary Alan
Milburn and secretary of state for local government Stephen Byers
asking for increased resources for community care services.

The council has said the amount that the government allocates
nationally for children’s and other standard spending assessments
for 2002-3 needs to be increased “to a level that more closely
corresponds with the underlying needs of local authorities to spend
on these services”.

It also wants the government to introduce a simplified grant
system that gives more weight to client groups than the current
system, and seeks a review of the various formulae used to allocate
money for health and social care.

In exchange for the funding West Berkshire Council has offered
to transform its community care services in line with the
government’s modernisation programme and to agree targets for
reducing hospital bed blocking.

Council leader Keith Lock said: “Central government made it
clear in the NHS Plan that councils and primary care trusts should
work much more closely together for the benefit of people who
require care. It is impossible to do this effectively because of
the differences in the way we are funded.”

He added that research done by the primary care trust suggests
that the amount spent per year in Berkshire would increase by
£58 million if social services were funded in the same way as
health services.

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