Hewitt warns trusts on shunting costs

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt has warned primary care trusts not to shunt costs on to social services departments amid evidence this is happening around the country.

At a press briefing last week, she said she had been told of cases of PCTs cutting services in response to NHS deficits, increasing pressures on social care.

She said: “A PCT will reduce a service in the hope or expectation that the local authority will pick up the bill.” She added that PCTs and councils could achieve better outcomes if they joined together to decide their priorities rather “than if they say ‘this is my pot of money, I’m going to solve my problems at the expense of the person down the road’.”

Cost-shunting has been highlighted by Wiltshire Council adult social care director Ray Jones, who has said his authority is one of a number that has been on the receiving end.


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