Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

First integration plans aim low on emergency activity

  • Comment

Four of the first five better care fund plans to receive official approval are all aiming for less than the ‘expected minimum target’ of a 3.5 per cent reduction in emergency admissions.


Despite this, some hospital providers remain sceptical that the approved schemes will achieve the falls in non-elective activity their commissioners are predicting, the published plans reveal.

Better care fund plans from Greenwich, Nottinghamshire, Reading, Sunderland and Wiltshire this week became the first to be signed off under the strengthened assurance process unveiled this summer by NHS England, the Department of Health and the Local Government Association.

Health and wellbeing boards across the country have been revising their better care fund proposals since central authorities asked for more robust finance and operational plans last spring. Final submissions are due on 19 September, with final sign off scheduled for 10 October.

Guidance issued in July by the government, NHS England and the LGA states that the “expected minimum target” for better care fund plans is a 3.5 per cent reduction in non-elective admissions in 2015-16, unless the HWB can make a “credible case” for a lower target.

Sunderland’s target is 0.8 per cent. It argues that non-elective activity fell in 2013-14, and is continuing to drop this year, and promises a more substantial reduction of 15 per cent from 2016-17 onwards.

Meanwhile Reading is planning for a cut of 2.8 per cent in 2015-16. It acknowledges that this is below the central target, but says it is nevertheless “very ambitious”, as Reading already has low levels of emergency admissions.

Wiltshire is aiming for a 3.75 per cent cut, but only once a projected 2 per cent rise in admissions is factored in, meaning the actual planned cut is 1.75 per cent.

Sections of the approved plans filled out by providers show the acute sector is not convinced that emergency activity will reduce by as much as commissioners hope.

Sunderland’s providers believe the fund will achieve only half of its projected activity reductions, based on projections of increasing demand from older patients and “historical delivery of plans”.

Greenwich also identified a “significant gap” between provider and commissioner activity plans, while Wiltshire providers said “we don’t fully recognise all the numbers”.

The approved plans also show that all five fast-tracked areas are planning to pool more than the minimum mandatory amount, with Sunderland pledging to create a shared budget worth up to £170m, against a minimum requirement of £25m.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.