Health partners pool £300 million for joint services

By on 04/03/2010 in News

Combined health and social care services for people with learning disabilities and mental health illnesses will receive a major boost when Birmingham City Council's Cabinet consider a report on the city's groundbreaking Section 75 agreement on Monday 8 March.

A legal agreement under the 2006 Health Act, the Section 75 creates a pooled budget of over £300 million for learning disability and mental health services across the council's Adults and Communities Directorate and the city's three NHS Primary Care Trusts (PCTs). At present, the four partners commission mental health and learning disability services separately, rather than together, and in many cases from the same providers.

The Section 75 agreement changes this practice by formally establishing lead commissioning arrangements, with Adults and Communities leading learning disability commissioning for all four partner organisations, and NHS Birmingham East and North taking the lead on commissioning mental health services.

The move to joint commissioning also provides greater opportunity to reshape existing services to support the personalisation agenda, where rather than being presented with a 'one size fits all' set of services, care service users have greater choice and control as to how the money they are entitled to care services is spent. To support this aim, the joint commissioning team will be working closely with a number of Business Transformation initiatives across the council.

The partnership want to develop more supported living and home based support in Birmingham, which will lead to a reduction on the reliance on residential and nursing home care. Current spend on residential care is too high. One of the key priorities within the new joint commissioning strategy for learning disability will be to reduce current spend from 55% to 40% over 3 years.

The Adults and Communities Directorate and the PCTs are experiencing budget pressures in the current financial year in relation to mental health and learning disability services in particular, and commissioning services together will make the best use of the resources available. Birmingham City Council is in the top quartile of personal social services expenditure per head on learning disability while the three PCTs are also all in the top quartile of spending on learning disability per head.

Councillor Sue Anderson, Cabinet Member for Adults and Communities, comments:

“The Section 75 agreement is a step-change in partnership working in Birmingham. We will make the public pound stretch further by working together across agencies, as well as helping people with disabilities and mental health illness to take more control of their own lives.

What matters is the quality of the care and support we offer to people in need of services. Breaking down barriers between organisations means we eliminate duplication and bureaucracy, and can re-direct resources to the vital frontline services which help people with learning disabilities and mental ill health live happier and more fulfilled lives in Birmingham”.

ENDS

For more information please contact Hayley Meachin on 0121 303 1271/ 07920 750007  hayley.meachin@birmingham.gov.uk

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