Big changes to adult social care in Peterborough to save £1m a year

Big changes to the way adult social care is administered in Peterborough have been announced.

Saturday, 6th October 2018, 5:58 am
Updated Saturday, 6th October 2018, 1:29 pm
Cabinet member for resources Cllr David Seaton with a copy of the budget

Peterborough City Council expects to save around £1 million a year (around 2 per cent of its budget) under changes announced yesterday as part of its latest proposals to set a balanced budget in 2019/20.

The council also revealed that it will receive around £1 million from a new pot of £240 million for social care announced by the Government.

The money will be spent on alleviating winter pressures.

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Cabinet member for resources Cllr David Seaton with a copy of the budget

Here, the Peterborough Telegraph sets out the changes announced by the council and what the authority has to say about them:

. Development of Care Suites across Peterborough - £100,000 saving in year one, £200,000 in future years

It is proposed that the council develops “assisted living care suites” across Peterborough to replace some nursing or residential living.

This will see the existing provision, which is primarily run by the independent sector, registered instead as assisted living, meaning the tenants have their costs paid from housing benefit (through the Government) instead of from the council.

The council said the residents would get “the key to the home” and would see no change to their care. In addition, the accommodation could also be re-designed and partners allowed to live together, instead of separately.

It is up to the current providers to agree to the changes.

. Virtual Panel - £100,000 saving a year

The Hospital Discharge Team is currently meeting the demands of Peterborough City Hospital by discharging people quickly into the community.

As the panel only meets once a week, on some occasions the panel meeting has to be bypassed to get this done.

This can have a financial impact on the council as the most suitable care is not always selected each time.

The ‘Virtual Panel’ will see daily communication between hospital and council staff through the phone or technology such as Skype to make sure the right care is chosen first up.

. Self-funders - £100,000 saving in year one, £150,000 in future years

According to the NHS website, residents are not entitled to help with the cost of care from their local council if: they have savings worth more than £23,250 or they own their own property (this only applies if their moving into a care home).

Self-funders are able to choose more expensive accommodation if they wish, but fees for these homes can exceed £1,000 a week and some self-funders have only been in their desired care accommodation for a short period of time when their savings fall below the threshold and payments have to be picked up by the council.

The council is now going to discuss contractual changes with providers to make sure that self-funders have enough money to pay for care for two years before they move in, as that is roughly the average amount of time people spend in residential care.

If the money then runs out after two years and the council has to step in, it would then agree a rate for the person to stay in that care.

The council said there has been a mixed response so far from the care providers, but that “everyone wants what’s best for the resident”.

. Block purchasing of nursing beds - £150,000 saving a year

Demand for nursing beds in the city has reached such a level it is now estimated the council could save money by ‘block’ purchasing beds, rather than at the point of need.

The contract for this will be over a long period.

. Home care contracts - £250,000 saving a year

The council is proposing to embark on an additional Home Care (Domiciliary Care) review to audit the care commissioned compared to the actual care delivered on a provider by provider basis.

This is expected to make big savings in the future.

The council, which spends more than £12 million on home care, currently carries out regular reviews, it said.

. Improved performance by the Adult Social Care team - £200,000 saving a year

The council said it will review “team processes and work flow” to enable a more efficient response to reviews and new requests for support via Early Adult Help.

By resolving people’s problems as early as possible it will prevent people becoming more ill.

The council said the review will look at agile working.

Other changes:

. Better use of resources within a personal budget - £100,000 saving a year.

. A review of the hourly rate paid to external providers of home care. The council said: “This will involve a full audit into why recent rates have been higher than expected. It could lead to a drop in the amount paid by the city council and self-funders.” - £35,000 saving a year.

. A review is also due to be carried out into the hourly rate paid to external providers of care at Supported Living Schemes in Peterborough - £50,000 saving a year.

. The Reablement Service is a short-term support service (around six weeks), designed to help maintain independence at home or increase independence following a period of ill health and/or planned or unplanned hospital admission.

In rare circumstances people have remained on this service for prolonged periods of time, in some cases for up to six months.

Currently the Reablement Service is a free service for up to six weeks. The proposal is that users who require an ongoing package of care post-reablement will be financially assessed to see if they are required to contribute towards their ongoing costs - £10,000 saving a year

. Assistive Technology (AT) is equipment used by people living with long term conditions or disabilities which provides them with a better quality of life, builds independence and lessons for their need for care and support.

The majority of AT equipment provided by the council is funded through a contract with a national supplier - NRS Healthcare.

The council has a separate AT budget which is used to top-up common items bought on the NRS contract and to procure more specialist equipment.

The proposal is to reduce the council’s AT budget by £30,000 and to instead purchase all common items through the NRS contract - £30,000 saving a year.

The council is having to make nearly £11.5 million of savings as it responds to huge pressures on its finances as a result of a £45 million reduction in its government grant (80 per cent) and millions of pounds of rising pressures on children and adults in care.

To have your say on the latest set of proposals, you can view the budget document on the council’s website and complete an online questionnaire.

Hard copies of the budget and questionnaire will be available at the Town Hall and Bayard Place receptions and in each of the city’s libraries by 9am on Monday, October 8.

The council’s cabinet will consider the proposals at its meeting on Monday, October 15.

Comments received up to 5pm on Friday, November 30 will be considered by the cabinet on Monday, December 3.

The consultation will close at 5pm on Monday, December 10.

Full Council will then consider the proposals on Wednesday, December 12.