Working with the Clinical Commissioning Group

The Older People’s Forum has worked closely with local health bodies, most recently BwD.C.C.G.

There is a new National Health Service body called Better Care Service which purchases all the services which both the Council’s Adult Care and Children’s Services provide, as well as those formerly supplied by the NHS locally.

On a day-to-day basis, they will decide which suppliers will deliver services to those deemed eligible. One of the problems will be that, while NHS services remain available to all who need them, until some changes have been made Social Care services will be restricted to those groups which the Council chooses to help.

The Fairer Access to Care paper in 2003 outlined the following four levels of Social Care: -

  1. Critical
  2. Substantial
  3. Moderate
  4. Low

All councils had to consider this new guidance but were allowed to select whom they would support. Blackburn with Darwen chose to support only the first two groups, thus leaving over 80% of older people outside the eligibility criteria for Social Care support.

However, from 2010 there is now a requirement to allocate money and staff to Social Care Preventative work which might ameliorate some of the worst excesses of the current system in the Borough.

As far as you are concerned, the BwD.C.C.G. will make little or no difference as it is suppliers of services who must contract with them, rather than individual patients/clients.

A more important question may be where will this “Joint Commissioning” lead to? Will we have new joint providers? Where has the local democratic control gone? Are you happy to allow externally appointed people (such as the PCT Board and East Lancashire Hospitals Trust Board) make all the decisions with little local accountability?

At present, if local residents are unhappy with a Council service, they may raise this with their local Councillor. There are no elected representatives on any NHS Trust Board – they are all appointed and do not have to obtain electoral support, even though they spend more in the Borough than all Council Services put together.

Is this the way you want decisions to be made in the future?