Health crisis could hit pooled services

Cost-cutting teams charged with reducing health trusts’ deficits may focus their efforts on preventive services funded jointly by health and social care, it is feared.

The Department of Health last week announced it would send the “turnaround teams” to 50 of the NHS trusts, primary care trusts and strategic health authorities with the highest over-spending, after publishing figures forecasting a 623m overall deficit for this financial year.

John Dixon, co-chair of the Association of Directors of Social Services disabilities committee, said that while there was a need to focus on spending in acute services, the savings preventive services could bring needed to be recognised.

He said there was a danger the cost-cutting teams would “take away” some funding for preventive care that would “make things worse in the long term”.

Dixon, also director of adult social services at West Sussex Council, said disabled people and those using intermediate care schemes were most at risk in his authority.

It falls under Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust, which is predicting a 41.2m overspend, the biggest in the country.

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