New plan by Leeds health bosses to spend £55m funding

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Health bosses have drawn up plans to work more closely with Leeds City Council to spend a £55m share of a Government funding pot.

Twenty schemes are to be funded by the cash, which aims to reduce the need for people to go into hospital or residential care and cut the length of hospital stays.

The money comes from existing funding which the Government has pooled into one budget.

Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, which is made up of councillors and health chiefs, has now signed off draft plan to spend the Better Care Fund cash.

Coun Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for health and wellbeing and a member of the board, said: “We need to move from our reliance on acute services to relying on early intervention and prevention measures in the community and primary care to ensure people have that care closer to home.”

She said it had been a challenge to meet the tight timescale dictated by the Government for drawing up the plan.

The Better Care Fund was announced in December and the first draft had to be submitted this week in order for the city to access the funding.

Key priorities for the use of the fund in Leeds were that the number of people supported to stay in their own homes should be increased, including reducing the need for people to go into hospital or residential care, helping them to leave hospital quickly and supporting them so they don’t need to go into hospital or care at all.

The draft plan involves spending £41m by April 2015 on 11 existing schemes, which includes one supporting carers.

Nine other initiatives will share £14m funding, with this money for one-off schemes such as increasing community and intermediate beds which provide a ‘halfway house’ between home and hospital.

A report to the board said staff and service users had been consulted about developing health and social care plans, but a fuller consultation with the public was planned for later this year.

It said: “The Better Care Fund is a step on the journey to articulate and refine the delivery of the Leeds’ ambition for a sustainable and high quality health and social care system, through spending the Leeds pound wisely in the current context of significant financial challenge.”

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