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Council “on the cusp of going to law” with local health authority

Simon Warren, Reading Borough Council’s interim managing director, has said the council is “on the cusp of going to law” with local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) over their failure to fund continuing health care (CHC) in the borough.

The council’s adult care and health services budget was overspent by £725,000 by July 2016.

“Were we to get the CHC funding the people of Reading are entitled to rather than having to satisfy that need through our adult social care budget, there would be a small overspend,” said councillor Eileen McElligott. “There is an issue around sharing resources effectively as there are other local authorities who are getting relevant CHC funding, and we’re clearly not, which is having added pressure on our budgets.”

“It’s not a question of working with, but working against at the moment,” said Simon Warren, adding “we are on the cusp of going to law.”

“It’s a pretty sad state of affairs with public bodies competing and putting money into the hands of lawyers,” said councillor David Stevens, the committee chair. “I suspect the fact we’re ready to go as far as court means we have a reasonable case for winning.”

  1. Reading Borough Council audit and governance committee
  2. Audit and governance committee webcast (exchange at 43:45).
  3. South Reading CCG

1 comment

  1. Councillor Jan Gavin (Labour, Redlands) kindly pointed us towards this Reading Borough Council (RBC) report from February 2016 which suggests that the provision of NHS funded continuing health care (CHC) in Reading and neighbouring authorities is lower than the national or regional average. For example, the average rate (per 50,000 GP patients who are 18 years or older) of patients ‘currently eligible’ for CHC funding in south central England in the first quarter of 2015/16 was 40.89, but in the South Reading CCG area, it was 11.41. RBC thus posits that, assuming the need for health provision is broadly the same across the region, some health care that would have been funded by the NHS elsewhere in the region is actually being funded by RBC within the borough through its adult care and health services budget.

    South Reading CCG say that their next financial year will be “extremely challenging” as they too face budget cuts. According to their own figures, they spent 3% of their £131 million budget last year on CHC.

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