Care Funding (South Ayrshire)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 28th March 2019.

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Photo of John Scott John Scott Conservative

6. To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with NHS Ayrshire and Arran and South Ayrshire Council regarding the reported shortage of funded packages of care in South Ayrshire. (S5O-03081)

Photo of Jeane Freeman Jeane Freeman Scottish National Party

Officials are engaging with senior officers in South Ayrshire regarding local plans to address current difficulties in the provision of appropriate care. That includes the partnership’s longer-term plans for service redesign. It is part of our wider work with all three integration joint boards, in partnership with NHS Ayrshire and Arran, on making the best use of the totality of their budgets to shift the balance of care into community settings.

Photo of John Scott John Scott Conservative

The cabinet secretary will be aware that NHS Ayrshire and Arran is expected to have a deficit of £20 million or thereby this year, while South Ayrshire Council has already overspent its social care budget for this year. What advice and help can the Scottish Government give to those two organisations, which, between them, are sustaining around 60 people in a hospital environment when those people are ready and waiting to be discharged into the community?

Photo of Jeane Freeman Jeane Freeman Scottish National Party

I am sure that Mr Scott knows and appreciates that there are many reasons for delayed discharge, some of which may be what are called code 9 reasons, which are to do with powers of attorney and guardianship and can take quite a long time to resolve. Some of the reasons are to do with a patient’s own requirements. Even so, I take very seriously delayed discharge, which occurs because care in the community is not available, or is not appropriate to an individual’s needs.

Mr Scott will also be aware of the significant increase in the health boards’ baseline budgets thanks to the budget that we passed not that long ago; of the brokerage arrangements that I have made as part of our medium-term financial planning framework, which also allows our NHS boards the flexibility of a three-year planning framework; and of the additional £160 million that, through local authorities, has gone from the health budget to health and social care partnerships in order to provide additional care.

Nonetheless, we are actively engaging with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, which is an important partner in this and with individual health and social care partnerships, to help them to understand the situation with the funding arrangements. The point of integration is not to worry about whose budget something comes from, but to make sure that the care that people need is provided. We are working individually with areas that have particular difficulties, including South Ayrshire, where there is a requirement for significant redesign and improvement of care at home and social care packages to bring them to a comparable footing with their colleagues elsewhere in Ayrshire and Scotland.