What is the Better Care Fund?
The Better Care Fund (BCF) creates a joint budget to help health and social care services to work more closely together in order to deliver:
- Services built around the needs of the most vulnerable older people within the community in order to provide care closer to home wherever possible.
- Better support for carers (those who look after and care for loved ones)
- More efficient services through closer joint working between, health, local authorities and the voluntary sector.
- A system that is better equipped to meet the needs of the growing older population.
The BCF programme brings together organisations including the County Council, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, Acute Trusts, Community Trusts, Mental Health Trusts, Peterborough City Council, District Councils and the Voluntary Sector.
Over the next five years in Cambridgeshire we want to move to a system in which health and social care help people to help themselves, and the majority of people’s needs are met through family and community support where appropriate. This support will focus on returning people to independence as far as possible with more intensive and longer term support available to those that need it.
This shift is ambitious. It means moving money away from acute health services, typically provided in hospital, and from ongoing social care support. This cannot be achieved immediately – such services are usually funded on a demand-led basis and provided as they are needed in order to avoid people being left untreated or unsupported when they have had a crisis. Therefore reducing spending is only possible if fewer people have crises: something which experience suggests has never happened before. However, this is required if services are to be sustainable in the medium and long term.
The first year of operation for the BCF was 2015/16. In Cambridgeshire the BCF was £37.7 million for 2015/16. This was formed through a reorganisation of existing funding already used to provide health, social care and housing services across the county.
On 22 August 2016, NHS England approved the £48 million 2016/17 Cambridgeshire BCF plan. Alongside existing service spending, the BCF is being used to invest in key transformation projects to support the shift that we want to see away from long-term and acute care towards care that is increasingly personalised and provided to people in their homes and communities. The transformation projects for 2016/17 included:
- Healthy ageing and prevention
- Data sharing
- Information and communications
- Intermediate care teams
- Developing social prescribing
- Older people’s accommodation review
- Seven day services
- Care home support
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