The Health and Social Security Scrutiny Panel has completed its review on Service Users of Home Care and today has published its report. The Panel undertook this review in response to the news in September 2016 that Family Nursing and Home Care (FNHC) would have funding for its Home Care services removed by the Health and Social Services Department from 1 January 2017.
The Panel examined what had happened in the lead up to this announcement and also investigated the support that would be available to service users of FNHC after the funding was removed.
The Panel presents the following findings from the review;
- There was no clarity as to how the block grant given to FNHC for District Nursing, Home Care and Children's services was apportioned. This in turn made it difficult for either party to identify the level of funding attributable to the Home Care service and therefore agree on how much was to be removed. The Panel has recommended that the Minister for Health and Social Services confirms how the block grant is broken down.
- Negotiations between Health and Social Services and Family Nursing and Home Care were slow, with responsibility falling on both sides. Health and Social Services failed to effectively communicate their stance and in turn attempted to make the changes in a short space of time. There was also a seeming reluctance from Family Nursing and Home Care to accept the changes it was presented with.
- Service users of FNHC were only invited to apply to the Long-Term Care Scheme four months prior to the planned removal of the funding and a proposed new flexible care component of Income Support was to be introduced in time for the removal of the funding. Neither of these were achievable targets and subsequently the Minister for Health and Social Services extended the funding until January 2018.
The Panel has concluded that the Minister for Health and Social Services has made the right decision to extend the funding for 2017 and that Health and Social Services and FNHC will need to work together throughout the year in order to ensure a successful transition.
The Chairman of the Panel, Deputy Richard Renouf said, "The Panel has found that there was little clarity over how the funding was apportioned for home care services, which in turn has led to this situation. The Health and Social Services Department have attempted to make too many changes in a short space of time without viable alternatives in place and it is appropriate therefore that the Minister for Health and Social Services has extended the funding until January 2018 to allow for a more orderly transition."