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NHS transformation fund will pay for council 'dowries'

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Part of NHS England’s £200m transformation fund will be spent on ‘dowries’ for councils taking over responsibility for the care of some people with learning disabilities and autism, it has emerged.

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LGC’s sister title Health Service Journal revealed last week

that the fund would be split between sites implementing NHS England’s new care models “vanguard”, a diabetes prevention programme and NHS England’s “transforming care” scheme, which began in late 2012.

The transforming care project was established in response to the Winterbourne View scandal. It was designed to improve autism and learning disability services by arranging new home based care for people currently in long term inpatient settings.

This will require the commissioning responsibility for some of those patients’ care to shift from the NHS to local authorities, which control social care.

HSJ understands that senior leaders at NHS England now privately acknowledge that for this to be possible, councils will need to be paid “dowries” to take those patients on. The cash would cover the cost of establishing a package of community based care and support, including appropriate accommodation, for someone who had been in inpatient care for several years.

An NHS England spokesman said no decisions on this had been taken, but would involve “person specific funding transfers” covering “a relatively small number of cases”.

NHS England had previously refused HSJ’s request for a full breakdown of how the cash would be allocated, saying the cash was “fully committed”, but details could not be released due to general election purdah.

This time, a spokesman said it would not give details for how much of the £200m would be spent on dowries for councils because “the exact division of the fund is yet to be finally agreed”.

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