Argyll and Bute’s Health and Social Care Partnership needs Scottish Government support to provide sustainable services that work for local people.
This will be the message going from the Council Leader to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, following agreement at today’s full Council meeting.
In 2017/18 local demand for health and social care services exceeded the HSCP’s budget by over £2.5 million. Budget limitations mean the HSCP, in addition to addressing this overspend, must make an additional £2 million savings in 2018/19.
The local situation is reflected across Scotland with the vast majority of HSCPs recording an overspend, to a reported total of around £67 million.
Councillor Aileen Morton, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council said:
“We all need health and social care services at some point in our lives. We all want the HSCP to succeed as a provider of services that evolve and develop to match the changing needs of local people.
“We have done all we can as a council to protect and support social work services. Councils are having to make very difficult decisions to meet budget challenges. Despite this we have increased our spend on social work services by 1.08% since 2014/15, in comparison to 4.27% overall reduction in the budget for all other council services.
“The HSCP however faces a tough combination of challenges. To meet them, the HSCP needs more than the support of the council and NHS. It also needs the support of the Scottish Government.
“Scottish Government legislation brought HSCPs into being so we know Ministers share our wish for them to succeed.
“We welcome the indication of transformation support given by the Scottish Government. In addition, I will be writing to the Cabinet Secretary to outline the unique position of our HSCP here in Argyll and Bute, to highlight that budget pressures are preventing the timescales needed for community-driven transformation, and to ask the Scottish Government to consider reassessing the funding levels provided for health and social care in Argyll and Bute. We all need to work together to make services work for the people who need them.”
The unique combination of challenges facing the Argyll and Bute HSCP were highlighted at the meeting as:
a shrinking and aging population which increases demand while creating difficulties in the recruitment and retention of staff
delivery across a huge geographic area, including 23 inhabited islands
a substantial proportion of their budget outwith their direct control (such as GP contracts, and recharges from other health boards)
maintaining core local hospital, acute and GP out of hours services in multiple rural hospitals with unique recruitment challenges and cost burdens