At least four in 10 local areas will see councils and NHS groups share more funds than required by the government’s £3.8bn better care fund, new analysis reveals.
A study of draft health and care integration plans by the Local Government Association shows that 57 of 135 health and wellbeing boards plan to share more cash than the government requires.
Of these, seven authorities – Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Dorset, Sheffield, Sunderland, Bournemouth & Poole and Salford – plan pooled budgets in excess of £100m, according to HSJ’s sister title Local Government Chronicle.
The analysis shows the average pooled budget will be worth £34m. Pooled budgets are due to take effect in April 2015.
A spokeswoman for Hertfordshire County Council said its plans would see the council sharing its entire older people’s care budget, worth £130m, with the NHS. Alongside this, the area’s two clinical commissioning groups would add a combined £109m to the pool, she added.
“The evidence from our pilots of integrated health and community teams tells us this is the right thing to do,” she said. “We’ll use the pooled budget to reshape services in a way that will support social care and also deliver the savings that are needed.”
Under the government’s better care fund, all councils and CCGs must share funds worth a total of at least £3.8bn. They must use the pooled budgets to join up health and social care services, including improved information-sharing and service provision for seven days a week.
The figures are taken from the draft plans that were submitted in February. Final plans were due to be submitted to the Department of Health by the end of last week.
LGC reported in February that Birmingham City Council, Sunderland City Council, Oxfordshire County Council and the west London “tri-borough” were working on ambitious plans that would see them sharing their entire adult care budgets with the NHS.
The finding that four in 10 areas will pool more than their minimum requirement comes after HSJ revealed last month that the total amount of pooled funding looked set to rise from £3.8bn to £5.2bn.
At the time, care services minister Norman Lamb said he was “delighted” about the extra pooling.
However, he also said the draft better care fund plans displayed a “range of quality”.
“Some are brilliant, some are less well developed,” Mr Lamb said.