The better care fund was announced by the government in June 2013 to ensure a transformation in integrated health and social care. It creates a local single pooled budget to incentivise the NHS and local government to work more closely together around people, placing their wellbeing as the focus of health and care services. It is made up of existing health and social care funding; it is not new money.
The county's better care fund plan was submitted in a number of stages by the North Yorkshire health and wellbeing board, and has now been fully approved by NHS England.
The better care fund is providing the impetus for the NHS and local government in the county to set out a shared vision, underpinned by practical actions and joint investment. As a public services economy, we know we face the challenges that come with rurality, geography and system complexity. Our biggest challenge, and our biggest opportunity, is to learn from our history and to look to the future. We are united in our ambition to make the county an exemplar for how a complex, rural health and social care system can deliver health improvement and social gain.
This plan describes how our shared investment will:
- Improve self-help and independence for North Yorkshire people;
- Invest in primary care and community services;
- Create a sustainable system by protecting adult social care and by working with secondary care to secure the hospital, mental health and community services needed in North Yorkshire; and
- Ensure that care is centred on the needs of the individual and their carers, empowering people to take control of their health and independence.
The Government has created a shared budget for 2015-16 designed to help move care from hospital into the community and to improve integration between health and social care. This consists mainly of existing funding with the health and social care system.
Each local authority has to set out how it intends to utilise the money to integrate health and social care. The North Yorkshire plan sets out a collaborative approach centred on the needs of individuals and their carers. The aim is to support people in managing their own health and wellbeing. The key principles for the plan are to:
- Integrate care around people rather than organisations;
- Use evidence-based initiatives to promote health;
- Plan services that promote the patient's home the default place for care delivery;
- Commission services with the underpinning ethos of "No health without mental health";
- Ensure common procedures for individual care needs assessment; and
- Pool resources across health and social care wherever possible to support joint care delivery.
The plan also explains how we will deliver the national requirements of:
- Protecting social care services;
- Providing seven-day services to support discharges and prevent avoidable readmissions to hospital;
- Enabling sharing of data between health and social care; and
- Enabling joint assessments and accountable lead professionals.
Health and wellbeing boards are required to ensure that plans are suitably ambitious and to approve them prior to submission.
The better care fund programme will continue in 2016-17. Commissioners are currently developing the North Yorkshire better care fund plan in line with national planning timescales and in readiness for approval by the North Yorkshire health and wellbeing board. Evaluation of health and social care schemes that were initiated in 2015 is currently underway to assess the impact and quantify the benefit of initial investments that were part of the 2015-16 North Yorkshire programme.
To find out more about the North Yorkshire better care fund see the following documents: