Sheffield Council reveals where £24m of government money will go to help adult social care

Sheffield Council is to get 24m over three years to help with adult social care
Sheffield Council is to get 24m over three years to help with adult social care
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Carers are set for a pay rise after Sheffield Council outlined how it will spend a government handout to ease the crisis in adult social care.

Around £24m will be given over the next three years to tackle problems in the sector.

The authority - along with the majority of councils in England - raised council tax by 4.99 per cent with over half of this being ring-fenced to help pay for care costs in the city.

Coun Cate McDonald, the member responsible for health on the council, welcomed the funding boost but said it 'does not compensate' for 'years of budget cuts'.

And Sue Harding OBE, trustee of Woodland View dementia support group in Sheffield said the government figure was a 'drop in the ocean'.

Ms Harding, who condemned Sheffield Council for closing Hurlfield View dementia respite centre earlier this year added authority bosses 'need to spend the money wisely'.

The council’s medium-term financial strategy has revealed back in October 2016 that £9.3m had been ‘temporarily’ taken out of reserves to cover the gap in funding.

Some £9.8m of the government cash is being spent on council commissioned services along with an increase in 'take-home pay' for council carers. Council bosses believe a pay rise will encourage more people to join the profession.

Just under £6m is set to be spent on bed-blocking and the transfer delays from hospital to care environments. The money aims to relieve pressure on the NHS.

Council and Sheffield hospital chiefs will be working more closely together to help systems under 'massive pressure'.

£8.3m will be used to support existing services under 'significant pressure', including mental health and services for people with learning disabilities.

Coun Cate McDonald, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “We have no choice but to use part of this money to prop up services which are under significant pressure.

“The council has faced huge funding cuts since 2010 and whilst we’ve protected the funding for adult social care, we have faced increased demands for services and are structurally underfunded.

"Carers do a fantastic job looking after the people we love. We’re planning to use some of the funding to invest more in the services we commission, and will be working with our providers on this.

"The aim is that carers get more take-home pay, so that more people want to work in care in Sheffield, and stay doing so. This will mean the people who need it receive better care and more consistent care, which is what we all want.

“This extra funding, although welcome, does not compensate for years of budget cuts, nor does it properly recognise the scale of the additional demands on our services. But I want to reassure the people of Sheffield that we are doing the best we can to make sure they and their loved ones are cared for properly, and in a way that we all would want."

Care home campaigner Ms Harding added: "We've just heard that dementia has overtaken heart disease as the biggest killer and the council could direct some much needed cash to this area of care and respite for carers yet they close Hurlfield View.

"For the size of what Sheffield is and the huge challenges that we face, the figure is nowhere near close enough to fully support our most vulnerable. It's absolutely a drop in the ocean."

The council will be working alongside Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group.

The plans are expected to be signed off at a council cabinet meeting tomorrow.