The Department of Health and Social Care has announced a funding increase for the Better Care Fund (BCF), to help support integration between the health and social care system.
The BCF, which was set up in 2015 to integrate services between the NHS, social care and housing services, is a collaboration between the Department of Health and Social Care, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, NHS England and Improvement, and the Local Government Association.
More than £6.9 billion has been committed so far, to help drive innovation that can support patients at home and minimise the time that people spend in hospital.
As part of the framework, a series of national conditions are in place, which the BCF will look at in the upcoming year. The conditions will see:
- A jointly-agreed plan between local health and social care commissioners, signed off by the Health and Wellbeing Board
- An NHS contribution to adult social care to be maintained in line with the uplift to CCG minimum contribution
- An investment in NHS-commissioned, out-of-hospital services
- A plan for improving outcomes for people being discharged from hospital.
The £6.9 billion budget will be used from 2021 to 2022 and will be made up of £4.3 billion of NHS funding, with around £2.1 billion from the improved Better Care Fund (iBCF) grant, and £573 million from the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). The 5.3 per cent increase in NHS funding is in line with the terms set out by the NHS Long Term Plan.
The BCF has several objectives to meet and they are listed below:
- Support the delivery of BCF plans: ensure effective implementation of agreed BCF plans via offering local systems/areas a programme of support.
- Capture and disseminate practice: accelerate the pace of effective integrations to deliver person centred care and better outcomes.
- Assure plans: support places to plan and assure their BCF plans.
- Develop systems, processes and reporting: capture and share insight and intelligence on the implementation of plans and progress of places towards the BCF’s wider ambition.
- Inform and influence: Develop and agree policy framework and BCF requirements for current and future BCF years, and identify solutions to integration barriers.
The full policy framework is available online, here.