Staffordshire set for care services review as chiefs struggle to balance the budget

The potential impact of a care services review by Staffordshire County Council has been revealed as it wrestles with the cost of delivery.

Staffordshire Place - Staffordshire County Council's Stafford headquarters
Staffordshire Place - Staffordshire County Council's Stafford headquarters

The authority says it spends around two-thirds of its annual budget - more than £300 million - on care every year, which is funded out of council tax.

But with an increase in demand due to the ageing population, the difficulties that care homes are facing recruiting and retaining staff and cost pressures due to inflation, the county council says more funding is needed.

In its Medium Term Financial Strategy report, to be presented to cabinet next Wednesday, Staffordshire County Council has detailed the potential community impact over the next year of its recent review of some care services.

For people with learning disabilities, those in mental health recovery and those receiving care at home it has been assessed as ‘high’.

Changes for those with learning disabilities, agreed in October 2019, included ‘reviewing and refreshing’ respite care, residential care and day services.

The council says a pilot scheme following the design of an ‘integrated service’ for day care and respite will take place with service users and their families this year.

A new service is also being commissioned from April 1 for those receiving care for their mental health.

The authority council says this will see a shift to focussing more on “promoting social inclusion and mental well-being through a community based model”.

It is to commission its own service when contracts with the three current providers end on March 31.

A review of home care in 2020 found that high cost packages might result in some people being moved into residential care or having changes made to the care they receive at home.

The council says that “robust assessments” are carried being out by the Midlands Partnerships NHS Foundations Trust to ensure eligible needs continue to be met.

Ian Parry, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for finance and resources, said: "There is no plan to remove services from people who need them but they may be provided in a different way.

“Once it is embedded the change works better for people in the long term.”

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