‘We must spend care cash windfall wisely’

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The man who decides how Lancashire’s adult social services budget is spent says the money could be better used by providing more appropriate care – and not more care in total.

Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for adult social care, Graham Gooch, was speaking after it emerged that the region will be one of the biggest beneficiaries from a fund set up to ease pressure on adult social services this winter.

The county council area is set to receive £5.5m, the fourth largest allocation from a £240m pot announced by the government last month.

But while describing the cash as “very useful”, County Coun Gooch regretted that it came with “strings” attached.

The focus of the funding is to reduce delays to hospital discharges for patients who are medically fit to leave, but require an assessment of their needs in a home setting before they can do so.   

So-called delayed transfers of care (DTOCs) have been a target for similar one-off cash injections over the last two years.

“In the last year, we have managed to reduce the number of DTOCs by 43 percent, which is a huge achievement – and we want to keep doing that,” County Coun Gooch said.   

“What I want to do is keep people out of hospital in the first place and then get them into the right place when they are discharged.

“We’ve provided far more care to people than any other council in the country – and that sounds good, but what we’re doing is taking away [people’s] independence and that’s not good for them,” he added.

Last year, Lancashire was threatened with having its share of funding clawed back if it failed to meet a series of targets to reduce unnecessary stays in hospital.