Derbyshire County Council put out the following press release on Wednesday 12th September. It makes for interesting reading and we are heartened by the Council acknowledging the value of the sector:
Council leader urges health chief to think again
The leader of Derbyshire County Council has today called on a Derbyshire health chief to reconsider NHS plans to cut funding to local voluntary sector organisations.
Councillor Barry Lewis met with Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Groups’ chief executive Dr Chris Clayton to question him about the “devastating” cuts the Derbyshire CCGs are proposing.
Councillor Lewis also expressed surprise at the way the county’s four CCGs had been wasting money over the years and said he was shocked they hadn’t addressed the overspending earlier.
“The CCGs say they can save £26million a year by stopping paying twice for some services and a further £16million on prescriptions,” said Councillor Lewis.
“If they’d looked at this sooner they wouldn’t be in the financial black hole they’re in now and wouldn’t have to look at the voluntary sector for savings.”
The £1.2million cuts to the voluntary sector proposed by the four Derbyshire CCGs aim to help address a funding shortfall of £95million. If they go ahead, they would affect 22 Derbyshire charities and community groups delivering many services for the county’s most vulnerable residents.
Councillor Lewis said:
“We had a constructive discussion and Dr Clayton assured me nothing had been decided yet on the proposals.
“I explained the cuts would have a devastating impact on the work of the community and voluntary sector and I have asked the CCGs to put them on hold and to look again at where savings can be made.
“I also raised my concerns about the woeful lack of consultation with the voluntary groups affected, partner organisations and the public.
“I urged Dr Clayton to consider deferring any decision to give more time for meaningful consultation to take place with the people who rely on these services, who would be badly affected if funding stopped.
“I am determined to ensure that the residents of Derbyshire continue to receive the care and support they need and deserve.”
Before his meeting with Councillor Lewis yesterday, Dr Clayton appeared before the Council’s Improvement and Scrutiny Committee – Health, which was considering referring the CCGs’ proposals to the Secretary of State.
The committee agreed to defer the decision as discussions were ongoing, but committee chair Councillor David Taylor said the committee reserved the right to refer the proposals to the Secretary of State for Health and called for a further meeting with Dr Clayton on Monday 1st October.
Councillor Lewis added:
“During a parliamentary debate on this issue just last week, it was made clear by health minister Stephen Barclay, and there was cross-party consensus, that the voluntary sector should not be the first port of call when the CCGs are looking to make savings.
“They acknowledged the services run by the community and voluntary sector offer very good value for money.
“I understand that the Derbyshire CCGs face a huge financial challenge but, unlike the council, the NHS has received significant government funding for its services over recent years. These proposed cuts are very short-sighted as they could end up costing more in the long run.”
He pointed out the cuts are contrary to the Derbyshire Joined Up Care proposals, an NHS-led plan for health and social care to work more closely together.
The Council’s cabinet member for health and communities Councillor Carol Hart, who is responsible for public health, said:
“The impact of these proposed cuts is already being felt. Community Concern Erewash and Bright Street Laundry in Ilkeston have announced they’re to close in light of the threat of withdrawing NHS funding.
“Implementing these cuts would affect the very services the Derbyshire CCGs are relying on to help them deliver the NHS’s five-year forward plan for the integration of health and social care.”
Councillor Jean Wharmby, the Council’s cabinet member for adult care, added:
“It seems very short sighted that at a time of growing demand and with more emphasis on prevention work, the Derbyshire CCGs are proposing to cut grants to the very groups that make such a big difference in local communities.
“Some of them are very low cost but bring a high level of benefit to the county’s most vulnerable people.”
We will report back after the committee has met with Dr Clayton on Monday 1st October – watch this space!