A range of cuts to health and care services are being considered after Staffordshire County Council revealed a £15million funding gap.
The authority is one of a number which have yet to agree their Better Care Fund (BCF) plan for 2016/17. The scheme is designed to encourage the NHS and councils to work together to target resources on community care.
But Cllr Alan White, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for health, care and wellbeing, said a £15million hole in the budget means savings will need to be made – and admitted tough decisions may need to be taken.
“Staffordshire’s BCF plan for 2016/17 has still to be agreed due to a significant funding gap in the expected contribution from the NHS and this has now been escalated to Government,” he said.
“Until this is resolved, it is sensible for the council to see if further savings can be made in our own running costs, look to prioritise funding of the care of people who rely on the council’s help the most and review any additional funding we currently provide to the NHS to see where further efficiencies can be made.”
A report to the council’s joint corporate review and healthy Staffordshire committee reveals that the local Clinical Commissioning Groups have been instructed to prioritise their own funding towards increased acute hospital care as part of steps to address their own budget issues.
The county council says it hopes a freeze on non-essential spending controls will help to cover the shortfall.
But the report reveals that a number of other changes are being considered.
“To date the county council has provided additional funding to support NHS resonsibilities, an example of this is special school nursing,” the report says. “Some of the savings proposals will be achieved by reducing funding for these services which are the responsibility of the NHS.”
Other services which could see the council reduce funding or prioritise the way budgets are spent include:
The future of a number of non-statutory services are also being considered as part of the review, including the closure of the Crisis support scheme which helps people with food and fuel in emergency situations.
Other areas facing potential cutbacks include:
The proposals will be discussed at the meeting of the committee on June 13.