Claims that the impending collapse of a 10-year-old welfare deal could cost Northumberland taxpayers an additional £ 2.5million a year have been dismissed by county chiefs.
Northumberland County Council (NCC) and the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHCFT) are preparing for their current partnership to expire after negotiations to extend it failed.
The impending ‘divorce’, which will see the local authority bring social care responsibility back in-house, has sparked budget forecasts ballooning if both sides cannot be persuaded to return to the table.
Read more: Northumberland Council, NHS bosses to end ‘prolonged agony’ over social care deal talks
But the suggestion was criticized by CFOs, who insisted the final implications were still being calculated.
“It’s not just about saving money, it’s about value for money, what we can deliver on a fixed budget,” said Peter Jackson, who was chief of the board of county until last year and which called for talks with the trust. Continue.
“We were told that the change would actually cost the Council around £ 2.5million per year, and that’s a real problem.
“This is the council’s largest budget, at over £ 100million a year, we asked about the impact on residents, on finances, on governance, but they didn’t received no response. “
Speaking to the County Council’s Health and Welfare Review and Review Committee, Coun Jackson was referring to letters he and several other councilors allegedly received from personalities in the NHCFT.
The communications prompted panel chairman Jeff Reid to characterize the trust’s actions as “inappropriate” and to say it had been “very selective about who it spoke to.”
The trust informed the board in February that it plans to withdraw from talks to extend a 2011 agreement to provide adult social care services, including care management, community rehabilitation, and specialist disorders services. ‘learning.
While a late U-turn saw him offering to return to the table, council leaders were unconvinced and the existing deal is set to expire in late September.
While the board bosses have admitted their new responsibilities could lead to increased costs, this could also be offset by savings in other areas that they say were not taken into account by the trust.
Jan Willis, interim finance director of NCC, said: “I am just not in a position to give any guarantees on the validity of the numbers that have been shared.
“However, I don’t think this presents a complete picture of the financial situation.
“I think what the trust did was select the areas where there are probably additional costs, but they did not take into account the areas where there are probably savings.
“These numbers were not discussed with my finance team and we don’t understand the assumptions behind these numbers – I don’t think these numbers are reliable at this time.”
When contacted, the trust declined to comment on the letter sent to county councilors and instead referred to a statement released jointly with the council pledging to continue to “tackle health inequalities and maintain a excellent standard of health and care in Northumberland ”.
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