Monday, 18 May 2015

Social prescribing?

The National Health Service in North East Lincolnshire is looking to take £1 million out of its funding for the care of the elderly. 

Last week, four days after the General Election, it put out a consultation.  It appears to it that several years of pre-election cuts have exhausted what can be achieved by efficiencies and reorganisation.  So three things seem to it to be unavoidable now. 

Reduce the numbers using Day Centres by reassessing all users to see how many of them might have their needs met by suitable community group alternatives; a reduced number of Centres could then care for the most vulnerable. 

Reduce the numbers for whom transport is provided when accessing this sort of provision; those with transport benefits will mainly be expected to use these for their own travel and a reduced level of provision could then be needed for those with particularly specialist transport needs. 

Remove any subsidy for meals-on-wheels provision; people should meet the full costs of their own.

This obviously ties in with my last post suggesting that the level of cuts in local services which we will face in the next five years will dwarf those of the last five years and that individuals, including those much less prosperous than me, will have to pick up costs. 

I wonder whether or how this also ties in with the first initiative the newly re-established North East Lincolnshire Voluntary and Community Sector Forum has been exploring.  The successful model elsewhere has been GPs making net savings to health care budgets by prescribing participation in things like lunch clubs and social events.  

But will any budget have provision for what is called 'social prescribing' in the new situation?  And what are the implications of the question I asked in another recent post when saying I wonder whether anyone in authority really appreciates how the national shift in provision depends on the availability of... venues and who is to fund the sorts of provision or improvements these need.

Meanwhile, we saw the angel carrying the grid-iron symbol of St Lawrence (who faces another carrying the cross-keys symbol of St Peter) at St Lawrence and St Peter’s, Wickenby when we visited some of the West Lindsey churches specially open to visitors on Saturday.

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