Scots health and care integration plans threatened by lack of funds, CIPFA warns

28 Jul 17

A lack of funding is holding back Scotland’s integration plans for health and social care, CIPFA has warned.

The institute’s integration group, comprising Scottish integration authority chief finance officers, made a submission to the Scottish Parliament’s Health & Sport Committee, stating that a range of fixed commitments, including the living wage, were leaving little resource left over to pay for the integration agenda.

This problem is also intensified by the reduction of local authority and health settlements and the pressure on the sector to deliver savings.

Head of CIPFA Scotland Don Peebles said: “The integration of health and social care services in Scotland will make a meaningful and lasting difference to the sector.

“Therefore, it is crucial that there is enough long-term investment to make sure services, which are facing significant pressures, can afford such transformation.”

Peebles branded the failure to establish a medium to long-term financial strategy for service integration in Scotland as “illogical”.

He urged Holyrood to outline future funding plans and examine whether integrated authorities should receive a direct allocation of funding to maintain progress.

 Sharon Wearing, chair of the CIPFA integration joint board, chief finance officers section, said: “With emerging evidence of current budget deficits of integrated authorities between 3% and 14%, there is a careful balance to be struck between the level resources necessary to manage current demand while planning for system redesign. 

“It is of crucial importance that there is integration, however it needs to be properly planned for to ensure the sustainability of services.”

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