Cost concerns raised over adult care plans

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Concerns have been raised over the cost of new care plans aimed at helping those with learning disabilities.

The fears emerged as Hartlepool Council adult services committee provided an update on the progress of the North East and North Cumbria Transforming Care Programme.

The programme was launched nationally and aimed at reducing reliance on long stay learning disability hospitals.

It aims to improve community infrastructure, support the workforce and avoid crisis by focusing on earlier intervention and prevention, meaning hospital admission would not be needed.

The plan focuses on a systematic reduction and closure of learning disability assessment and treatment beds by March 2019 across the region.

Currently 100% of the costs of patients detained under the Mental Health Act are funded by the NHS.

However, when individuals are resettled back into the community, local authorities may become responsible for some of the costs of their new community based package of care.

Coun Stephen Thomas, chair of the committee said he supported the work but had concerns over the cost which could fall to the local authority.

He said: “There are still some issues which I have concerns around such as the financial implications at a time when budgets are extremely stretched.

“Individual care practices can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds, it’s a serious cost and serious support is needed.

“There’s got to be support by people with the right level of skills to ensure they provide the care that’s needed.”

“The underlying principles I absolutely support but there is still a number of issues, which would be the case at this stage.”

The number of Hartlepool people who remain within NHS funded inpatient care is currently eight, not including people with with an indicative discharge date post 2020.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service