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Review finds Better Care Fund lacks 'financial credibility'

Review finds Better Care Fund lacks 'financial credibility'

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The Better Care Fund will neither balance the NHS budget nor create a revolution in care, a damning Whitehall report has concluded. 

The £3.8 billion fund should have been launched last week in order to bring together health and social care services, however, the launch has been postponed. 

The government and NHS England believed the Better Care Fund would reduce pressure on hospitals, and improve community care. 

But a review from the Cabinet Office found that plans to merge health and social care budgets “lacked financial credibility”, and had little detail on how savings would be delivered. 

Officials have been asked to produce additional evidence to make the plan more “credible”. 

The review also revealed concerns that hospitals had not been thoroughly consulted about the plans, which have been drawn up by local councils and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). 

A Whitehall source told the Guardian: “The plans produced so far don't show in detail where savings will be achieved as a result of the investment, or that hospitals will be able to reduce their spending.

"Because they don't, the Cabinet Office don't think the plans produced so far are credible enough and don't have enough information in them about how the savings will be made, or detailed enough forecasts."

A Conservative health spokesman said: "This government is finally doing what the last government talked about but never delivered: joining up the health and social care systems. The Better Care plans start from April 2015 but we asked for early versions to be completed a year early so we could check their level of ambition and deliverability, which is what is happening."

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