Diary of a Sutton Councillor

Tuesday 12th January 11.30am

Carers Partnership Board

Mike Sexton, Acting Director of Commissioning had been invited to the meeting to talk about the NHS Sutton & Merton Commissioning Strategy and how the PCT had involved carers in this work. Mike was unable to attend so Audrey McDonnell, Assistant Director Joint Commissioning, attended in his place. As we had suspected carers had failed to be involved at the strategic level to help inform the commissioning plan, and we were advised that the consultations had been last minute due to the short time frames given by NHS London for preparation of the Strategies. The board expressed its disappointment and pressed strongly for this matter to be rectified for the future. The importance of carers as ‘partners in care’ with the NHS was stressed and the impact of failing to look after the health & wellbeing of carers on NHS resources was touched on.

The board was also keen to hear how the PCT was planning to spend the extra money for carers allocated to 2010/11 as a result of the National Carers Strategy. An additional £360,000 had been given in 2009/10 and £720,000 for 2010/11. Figures were promised by Ms McDonnell to show the spend on carers in 2009/10 but there was no commitment from the PCT that the additional £720,000 for 2010/11 would be spent directly on carers respite. We were told that in the current economic climate finances would have to be prioritised so no commitments could be made. The Board was very disturbed to hear this and felt that the PCT failed to have any real understanding of the issues facing carers. Ms McDonnell undertook to take our comments back to the PCT and report back to us on any further progress. It was also requested that as the Carers Strategy the London Borough of Sutton was currently looking to refresh was meant to be a multi-agency strategy that there should be input from the PCT into this work.

 We next had an update from Adrian Davey, Assistant Director of Mental Health Strategic Commissioning on how the work done with carers had influenced the strategy and to update on the latest draft. Mr Davey advised that the most recent draft would be circulated to the board within the next couple of weeks.

 Andrew Clark the Programme Manager for Transforming Lives attended the meeting together with Phil Butlin, Executive Head of Group Finance, to provide an update on the programme with particular reference to carers. We were advised that the client and carers resource allocation system was about to be tested and the new way of working was planned to be rolled out on 25th January 2010. There were to be two funding streams for clients and carers: universal services and personal budgets. Emergency respite is to be part of universal services. We were informed that the decision had been made to have respite care be determined under the cared-for’s support plan rather than the carer’s. This was to enable the cared-for to dictate the kind of care they wanted. This resulted in a lot of debate as it was felt that this could result in less flexibility for the carers, and therefore put them under greater pressure. Simon Latham pointed out that the respite had to go to either the carer or the cared for and the decision had been made to allocate it to the cared-for. This gave them control over continuity of care and the nature of the respite but there would always be consideration of the carer’s situation too. I could see both sides of the dilemma and made the point that no system was going to produce a perfect solution. A compromise was necessary but it was important to ensure that there was fairness and equity in the solution chosen.

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February 22, 2010 - Posted by | Meeting

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