Better Care Fund: A Total Failure In England Healthcare
The Better Care Fund is a collective fund, which intends to shift resources into community services and social care from the NHS budget in England. This pooled fund has an initial budget of £5.3 billion and local councils are allowed to increase the local fund. It was also created so that the government could save £1 billion per year by keeping patients out of hospital.
But according to National Audit Office (NAO), the Better Care Fund did not ease the pressure on NHS hospital or save money, as per BBC. NAO also said that on the first year of the fund, it has helped in joining up health and social care. But still, it hasn't led to the reduction of hospital workloads.
NAO also reported that the Department of Health expected to save £511 million on the Better Care Fund's first year. But it didn't happen. It is also expected that the number of hospital admissions will decreased. But it is in fact increased.
According to Mirror, local areas planned to save £171 million by reducing emergency admissions by 106,000. But in 2015/16, the number of emergency admissions increased by 87,000 compared with 2014/15. The increased cost a total of £311 million more than planned.
Local areas also planned to save £90 million by reducing the delayed transfers by 293,000 days in total. But the number of delayed days was increased by 185,000 compared with 2014/15. The increase cost a total of £146 million more than planned.
NAO said that the government has no compelling evidence to show that this integrating services lead to reduced hospital activity or sustainable financial savings. The government also hasn't established yet strong evidence to show that the Better Care Fund leads to better outcomes to patients.
The report said that there were too many assumptions about the integration of Better Care fund and its impact. But the fund did not achieve the expected value of money, in terms of outcomes for patients, reduced hospital activity and savings. But NAO also notice some benefits from the fund, like the fact that 90% of local areas agreeing that the delivery of their plan had improved joint working.
Labor and Co-operative MP Meg Hillier, which is also the chairwoman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), said that the MPs had already warned about the flaws of Better Care Fund two years ago. She also said the full integration by 2020 is nothing but a pipe dream unless both the government and NHS England fully involve local services.