FINANCE: Commissioners in Birmingham have removed from their annual efficiency plan this year’s expected savings from the better care fund because the financial gains were unlikely to be realised this year.

Birmingham CrossCity Clinical Commissioning Group removed projected savings worth £3.9m from its quality, innovation, productivity and prevention scheme for 2015-16 after its plan was reviewed by NHS England.

The savings were all planned to arise from reduced emergency activity.


Birmingham CrossCity CCG made the decision after its plan was reviewed by NHS England

According to the CCG’s board papers, “this scheme was removed following review by NHS England as it was felt unlikely that [better care fund] initiatives would have any significant impact on activity in the first year of its operation”.

Under the better care fund, £5.3bn is being pooled nationally between councils and CCGs, to be spent on integrated health and social care.

Last year, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the initiative would yield £500m of savings through reduced emergency admissions during 2015-16.

An NHS England spokesman said this week the discussions with Birmingham CrossCity were part of an annual planning review assuring all CCG plans, to assess the likely impact of QIPP and the better care fund.

“While the planning review in no way impacted on the operationalisation of the BCF, we did reach agreement with the CCGs that it would be more prudent to scale back the anticipated impact of the programme in 2015-16,” he said.

He added that NHS England is still “fully supportive of [the CCG’s] strategic goals”.

All better care fund plans were assured via a process led by NHS England last year.

The CCG released £3.9m of contingency funding to cover the lost QIPP savings.

“If the [better care fund] does in fact deliver against the original plan then that would have a beneficial impact on the CCG in-year”, NHS England said.

The CCG’s chief finance officer, Phil Johns, said: “We carefully considered the timescales involved and when this would start to have an impact on non-elective admissions at our local hospitals… We fully expect the BCF to reduce non-elective admissions. However, the full benefits of this work will not be realised in this financial year.”