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Plans supported to protect the most vulnerable in face of £33 million funding gap

Published: Wednesday, 27 March 2024

Plans supported to protect the most vulnerable in face of £33 million funding gap

Plans to support and protect the most vulnerable

Health and social care leaders have agreed a suite of proposals as they continue to negotiate a profoundly challenging financial outlook.

South Lanarkshire’s Integration Joint Board (IJB) members, at a meeting yesterday, reaffirmed that the wellbeing and safety of communities will be central to all considerations.

The assurance was provided as the IJB set out a way forward to maintain balance over the next financial year in the face of a recurring £33million gap. The IJB is required to balance the budget by law.

Lesley McDonald, Chair of the IJB, said: “It is important we fully acknowledge and diligently take stock of the reality we find ourselves in.

“The size of the funding gap is such that the action required to address it will have unavoidable implications for how services are provided. Hard decisions had to be taken and inevitably there will be difficult choices ahead.

“We remain, however, absolutely focused in developing realistic, sustainable proposals to negotiate the harsh financial landscape and ultimately keep people safe.”

Against a tough national backdrop, where other IJBs have been taking difficult decisions, a series of recommendations were approved in a financial plan.

These include:

  • A range of savings proposals relating to service delivery redesign in both the health and social care;
  • Proposals to change the future of residential care provision at Dewar House and McClymont House. (Note: See supplementary article below)
  • The continued work of programme assessing – and addressing – high levels of prescribing expenditure.

This is a continuation of the IJB’s sustainability and value programme, which was launched last year and which involves engaging with stakeholders where necessary and in line with guidance.

Professor Soumen Sengupta, Chief Officer of the IJB, added: “We have been forthright about the financial challenges we face for many, many months now.

“My leadership team and I remain firm in our commitment to doing our utmost to protect and support the most vulnerable and at-risk individuals within our local communities.

“As we continue with what is and will be a difficult and crucial programme of change, we continue to appreciate the professionalism and compassion of our staff and the understanding and patience of our communities."

Key facts:

  • The current state-of-play amplifies the findings of Audit Scotland’s Integration Joint Boards Financial Analysis 2021/22, a report which leaves no illusion about the severity of the wider challenges.
  • The national auditor states that IJBs have reached the point where significant transformation will be needed to ensure the long-term capacity financial sustainability and quality of services individuals receive.
  • The details of the meeting’s papers – and recommendations - can be viewed here: IJB Meeting Papers 26 March 2024

Reassurance after future of care home provision proposals approved

Proposals to discontinue ongoing provision of residential care at McClymont and Dewar House Care Homes have been approved by the South Lanarkshire Integration Joint Board (IJB) at its meeting of 26 March 2024.

There was an amendment to the recommendations approved by the IJB, with the IJB agreeing that a further urgent appeal be made to the Scottish Government for financial assistance to help address both immediate and recurring health and social care funding challenges in South Lanarkshire. This request will be sent to the Scottish Government as a priority by the IJB Chief Officer, Professor Soumen Sengupta.

Under the terms of the amendment the IJB agreed that, should this urgent appeal for assistance be successful before the next regular board meeting in June, the decision regarding both residential care homes would be reconsidered.

Professor Sengupta, said: “I understand this has been a worrying time for those individuals affected and would seek to reassure that the ongoing wellbeing of the 11 long-term residents in McClymont House and the 10 long-term residents in Dewar House will remain our primary concern.

“As part of that reassurance, we remain committed to updating those concerned, as well as the wider public, on this appeal to the Scottish Government as and when we can.

“This development notwithstanding, the next steps of process will be now taken forward sensitively and in line with national guidance.

“This will ensure each resident’s individual needs and views are considered properly, safety and wellbeing protected, and within an appropriate timescale.

“The Care Inspectorate stipulate that in the event that a care home is to be closed that a minimum of 13 weeks’ notice is given for deregistration. Having given careful consideration to the consultation report an extended closure period of 7 months has been recommended and budgeted for.

“This was approved to provide added reassurance for the 21 long-term residents and their families of both residential care homes that the process will not be unduly rushed and necessary care will be given to finding an appropriate placement for each resident.

“We will work with residents and families to identify placements that meet their formally assessed needs, be that within an alternative residential care home or a nursing care home.”

The IJB has a legal obligation to have a balanced budget.