Minister recognises PCT cost shunting

The government has admitted that primary care trusts have reneged on their responsibilities for funding continuing care and shunted costs on to councils.

Care services minister Ivan Lewis said there was clear evidence of PCTs shunting long-term care costs on to councils through not funding continuing care for people who should be eligible.

Speaking at last week’s General Social Care Council annual conference, he said: “There have been primary care trusts not fulfilling their responsibilities and shifting that onto local authorities, there’s no doubt.”

Lewis said the Department of Health would shortly bring forward guidance on continuing care, following last year’s consultation on its proposed national framework for NHS-funded long-term care.

Jo Webber, deputy policy director at the NHS Confederation, said its research had shown that cost shunting was as much of a problem for PCTs, due to councils pulling out of joint projects, as vice versa. She added: “This is not a time for blame, but a time for transparency.”

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