Date Published: 17 March 2007

NHS leaders call for less blame and more honest communication between health and social care (UK)

Commenting on the survey of directors of social services about the impact of NHS deficits, published today by the LGA, David Stout, director of the NHS Confederation's Primary Care Trust Network, said:

" There are undoubtedly financial problems in some NHS organisations, but there are also deficits in a similar number of local authorities. What we should all be doing is working more closely together to ensure we continue to provide good services to local patients.

_ It is frustrating therefore that the LGA at a national level has accused NHS organisations of cost-shunting - inevitably when there are two parties involved there is always another side to the story.

_ A survey of PCT chief executives, conducted by the Confederation last year, revealed that, at the time of the survey, 53% of respondents said that their PCT was reporting a deficit compared with 51% stating that their local authority was challenged with financial deficits.

_ The survey results also showed that 54% of respondents said their local authority had tightened its eligibility criteria for care. Of this 54%, nearly three quarters (74%) felt that it had had an adverse affect on the PCT's services, ranging from moderate to very significant. Only three per cent thought that it had not had any affect at all.

_ This common move by local authorities to try and tackle local government deficits has meant that many NHS organisations have had to cope with a higher demand for services. Pressures include increased admissions into residential care and increased workload for community based staff as well as increased pressure on out-of-hours services.

_ Both the LGA and NHS Confederation surveys show that there are problems on both sides. What is important is that we work together in partnership to get to grips with this reality and try to resolve problems together.

_ The NHS and local government are trying to deliver a tough health and social care agenda within a cash limited system - our joint priority must be to continue to provide good services to local people. Shifting the blame helps no-one - least of all the communities we serve."

 

Source: NHS Confederation (UK).

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