§ 39. Mr. Wainwright
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the operation of joint health and social services finance schemes for the care of the mentally handicapped.
§ Mr. Whitney
Under the joint finance arrangements, which were introduced in 1976, district health authorities make payments to local social services authorities or voluntary organisations towards selected social services schemes. Payments may be made to meet the full cost for a maximum of three years, and for a maximum of seven years in all after which the local authority or voluntary organisation is expected to take over the funding of the scheme. Funds are allocated to health authorities for this specific purpose and for 1985–86 the total allocation amounted to £105 million. Roughly one third of joint finance is spent on services for mentally handicapped people.
Under the care in the community arrangements, district health authorities may make payments for as long as necessary towards community services for long-stay patients moving out of hospital. Joint finance may be used as bridging finance until full savings accrue from the movement of people out of hospital. For this purpose the maximum period of joint finance may in special circumstances be extended to 10 years at 100 per cent. and to 13 years in all. District health authorities may then continue the payments from their main allocations. It is for health and local authorities and other agencies to make use of this financial flexibility in jointly planning the development of community care. About 17 million of the joint finance funds have been centrally reserved over the four-year period up to March 1988 to fund a programme of 28 pilot projects under the care in the community arrangements. Eleven of these projects relate to mentally handicapped people.
Some health and local authorities have entered into joint funding arrangements for the provision of, for example, day centres where operational costs are shared.