FINANCE: A Manchester provider has warned that “stringent” council budget cuts could hit its community services.
Writing in Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust’s November board papers, chief executive Michele Moran said cuts proposed by Manchester City Council could have a “significant impact [on] the future delivery of some services”.
The papers claim the council has to deliver efficiencies of more than £45m by 2016-17, resulting in a proposal to reduce the amount spent on health and wellbeing services by more than 60 per cent over the next two years.
Public health budgets are ringfenced so Manchester Council will not be able to cut this funding overall.
However the authority’s latest budget announcement shows that it is proposing to shift £14.6m within its public health budget over the next two years, with £5.2m set to be cut from the £9.9m currently spent on health and wellbeing services.
The trust said this will affect a number of community services it provides including: an oral health programe; a service aimed at supporting the wellbeing and social inclusion of people with severe mental health and social care needs; and providing support to people with long term conditions to increase their physical activity.
In a statement to HSJ, Ms Moran said that Manchester, like the rest of the country, was going through “difficult times within the health and social care economy and we appreciate the difficulties when looking at service reductions or retractions”.
“However we are concerned about the proposed level of cuts for our service users and staff. Such a scale of budget cuts will inevitably have a significant impact across the city,” she said.
She added that the trust would work closely with the council throughout the ongoing budget consultation process “to ensure that any impact on staff and service users is minimised”.
A spokesman for Manchester City Council said that while its public health grant is ringfenced for public health activities, the local authority is looking at the potential of redirecting funding from some of the grant from commissioned services into other public health priorities.
He said it was consulting on the plans until 1 February, that no decisions had yet been made and that the council would work “closely with partners to foresee and manage any potential impacts together”.