Council and health chiefs in cash clash
TOWN Hall chiefs have called a meeting with North Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT) over concerns that its massive debts are having a knock-on effect on council finances. North Somerset councillors claim that, because people are being sent home from hospi
TOWN Hall chiefs have called a meeting with North Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT) over concerns that its massive debts are having a knock-on effect on council finances.North Somerset councillors claim that, because people are being sent home from hospital earlier, the demand for the council's home care services has rocketed.This is leaving an estimated £1million overspend in the council's adult social services and housing department.At an executive meeting on Tuesday, Councillor Mike Bell said: "There are signs the financial pressures on the NHS and efforts of health managers to avoid costs, are seeing rocketing bills for North Somerset Council. I will be making it clear to NHS chiefs that they cannot pass the buck for their financial problems onto local council taxpayers."Muriel Kraft, deputy leader of the council and executive member for adult services, said: "The reason for the overspend is because the need for home care is increasing dramatically because people have been getting out of hospital earlier."If it's a health problem the PCT pays for it and if it's a social care problem we pay but there's a dividing line and sometimes there are disagreements over who pays."North Somerset PCT has a £14.5million deficit.PCT chief executive Chris Born said it is the Government and patients who are pushing for more care in the community which is putting added pressure on both the PCT and social services.He said: "We are both being asked to promote independence for older people. It's very much about people not going into nursing and residential homes and hospital if they can be cared for at home."I don't see it as one organisation causing a problem for another, it's the way the demand for services is going and it's something we've got to work on together."The PCT has already set up an assessment unit so patients are not admitted to hospital if they can receive the care they need at home and a new rapid response team to help people avoid hospital and offer them assistance after their discharge.Members of the council's executive, officers and health bosses are set to meet this week to discuss how the problem can be solved.