But the Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are still cutting funding by around £475,000, putting some groups that help Derbyshire’s most vulnerable residents at risk.
Councillor Barry Lewis said the council was looking carefully at the details of the CCGs’ plans to determine what impact the cuts could have on the organisations, some of which are also funded by us. He said:
“It looks as if they have listened to us and changed some of their plans, but we’re still concerned the cuts they’re going ahead with could have a detrimental impact on Derbyshire communities.
“We’re currently looking at the detail of what they’ve agreed to see if there’s anything we can do to help in the short term.”
Councillor Lewis said he was disappointed the CCGs had described some of the services they were no longer giving grants to – such as helping people get to health appointments – as not “core business”. He added:
“This flies in the face of the national agenda on joined-up care and social prescribing, and although the cuts aren’t as far-reaching as first proposed, making the cuts they are could have a major impact on the very things the NHS is trying to achieve with its integrated health and social care agenda.
“It is worrying that locally the health service is retreating from prevention.”
The cuts are part of plans by the Derbyshire CCGs - the organisation that buys health services for the county’s residents - to address a funding shortfall of £95million.
The CCGs need to save £51m by the end of March 2019 so that NHS England will “write off” the other £44m of debt.
Led by chief executive Dr Chris Clayton, the CCGs have agreed to cut grants to a variety of organisations including South Derbyshire CVS, Mencap and horticultural social enterprise Rhubarb Farm in Langwith.
They’re proposing to continue to give £262,000 in grant funding to a number of organisations including the brain injury charity Headway, counselling service Relate and eating disorders charity First Steps.
Councillor Lewis acknowledged the CCGs faced a significant financial challenge but he pointed out that, unlike the council, the NHS had received significant budget increases in recent years.
Our cabinet member for Health and Communities, Councillor Carol Hart, who is responsible for public health, said she was still concerned to hear the CCGS were planning to go ahead with some the cuts, but relieved they weren’t as much as first proposed. She said:
“Even these cuts could have a major impact, if we are going to work in partnership to improve the health of people in Derbyshire in the future we need to work together.”
Our cabinet member for Adult Care, Councillor Jean Wharmby said while the funding for charities and community groups was relatively small, the impact could be significant. She said:
“It seems very short-sighted that at a time of growing demand and with more emphasis on prevention work, the Derbyshire CCGs are proposing to cut grants to the very groups that make such a big difference in local communities.”
“Withdrawing funding for these services could lead to an increase in demand for health services.”