Wednesday 18 April 2012

Review of partnership agreements for older peoples' services

The County Council's Cabinet agreed yesterday to changes to what we call the Section 75 agreements bwetween the County Council, the NHS and an NHS organisation called Cambridgeshire Community Services (CCS) who are responsible for the management of many aspects of care in Cambridgeshire.  The Section 75 agreement is effectively the contract that we have that underlies the working arrangements.

What we agreed was that,rather than have a three way contract, to take NHS Cambridgeshire out of the middle and to have a single Section 75 agreement with CCS.  The thinking behind this is to provide better accountability and management oversight in an area that, in the past, has been too complex and has a history of overspends.  This is not a criticism of either organisations and, in particular, I would say that the National changes to the NHS are resulting in huge improvements in local relationships; these S75 changes are more an evolution of arrangements that happened some years ago.

The important point in this is not the technicalities of this single change, but that it signals the start of a real process of change in Adult Social Care, of which more will come forward in the coming months.  We are trying to be innovative in dealing with the financial problems we face - to be more preventative, to be more radical in how we manage what we do and to use the changes in the NHS to the advantage of the residents of Cambridgeshire.  The last inspections showed that the level of care we provide is good, but we do need change and innovation in order to keep care affordable - but also to do more to prevent people needing it in the first place.

This afternoon I am at my first meeting of a Scrutiny sub-committee that is going to examine what we are doing with delayed discharges - another area of concern for Cambridgeshire - and I will be discussing further proposed changes there.