The £3.8bn pooled budget to boost health and social care, announced as part of the June spending review, will be available from 2015/16 but NHS England has said that it is ‘essential’ that CCGs and local authorities ‘build momentum’ in 2014/15.
CCGs and local authorities have until March 2014 to apply for the money and any bids need to be signed off by both parties as well as the local health and wellbeing board.
Conditions for accessing the integration transformation fund (ITF) include better data sharing between health and social care which NHS England said will require ‘the resolution of some information governance issues by the DH’.
Where the funding is used for ‘integrated packages of care’ there will need to be an ‘accountable professional’. A DH consultation on making GPs the accountable clinician for the vulnerable, elderly when leaving hospital, closes next month.
A joint statement published today by NHS England and the Local Government Association (LGA) listed one of the conditions for access to the fund as ‘seven-day working in health and social care to support patients being discharged and prevent unnecessary admissions at weekends’.
Dr Peter Melton, chief clinical officer of North East Lincolnshire CCG said: ‘This is a tough settlement for CCGs and one that will require us to make some radical changes across the health and social care system. However our experience as an integrated health and social care commissioning organisation has shown that when we integrate service commissioning, supported by pooled funds, we can make a real and positive difference to the most vulnerable people in our community.’
In an exclusive interview with GP magazine health secretary Jeremy Hunt said that he wanted to transform GPs’ roles and free them up from bureaucracy so that they could take a more pro-active approach to the vulnerable, elderly patients on their lists.