Thursday, December 7, 2023

Half a Million in Cuts to Voluntary Services Which Plug Holes in NHS

The organisations which commission health spending in Derbyshire are set to make more than £500,000 of cuts to volunteer-run services.

As it stands, the Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) – which will merge into one organisation next year – spend nearly £8.5 million each year on voluntary services. These companies and charities provide care on behalf of the CCGs. This includes care for the elderly and vulnerable so they can remain in their own homes, home-to-hospital transport and befriending services for the lonely and isolated.

However, the CCGs currently face an uphill struggle to make £51 million in cuts by April next year. There is a total deficit of £95 million which needs to be brought down to £44 million by this deadline.

As a result, they are looking to make cuts to discretionary grants and funding for voluntary sector support and development.
Funding for voluntary sector support and development is divided up into infrastructure and Voluntary Single Point of Access (vSPA).
Combined, this grant support and funding costs the CCGs around £1.2 million each year, out of a combined budget of £1.5 billion.

The organisations had looked to reduce this by £300,000 a year over four years.

In September, this decision was deferred to allow more time to assess the services which support thousands of patients.

The CCGs have faced a raft of objections from Derbyshire County Council, MPs, charity managers, service users and residents.
A common line of objection has been to call the cutbacks “short-sighted”, stating that the work the charities carry out saves the CCGs thousands of pounds more than it costs them, in addition to keeping people out of care homes and hospitals.

Alongside this is the suggestion that the cutbacks could save money in the short-term but will have a long-term impact on Derbyshire residents.

Today, on Thursday 13th December, CCG leaders met to sign off on a new plan to cut next year’s funding in half – instead of by a quarter each year for four years.

A report published under the leadership of Zara Jones, executive director of commissioning operations, breaks down the proposals.

Of the funding cuts, £299,114 relate to discretionary grants.

Organisations which are set to lose grant support will continue to receive funding until March 31.

Nearly a third of this cut in funding – £99,483 – falls on the shoulders of Voluntary and Community Services Peak and Dales.
The organisation, which has bases in Ashbourne and Buxton, provides support for more than 5,000 vulnerable, disabled and elderly patients. Infrastructure support was reduced by £100,000 in September and will be reduced by a further £100,000 next year.

The CCG says it is working closely with Derbyshire County Council to work out how to support this service going forward. The county council currently makes a “significant investment” in this sector.

The vSPA service – which signposts patients to the organisations which would best cater for their needs – was handed its six months’ notice in September. It will be provided with 50 per cent funding until March 31, when all financial support will cease. This currently costs £155,000.

Here are the organisations where funding is recommended to cease:

Brand Recovery – £15,333
Citizens Advice and Law Centre Derby – £29,266
Voluntary and Community Services Peak and Dales (night sitting) – £32,270
Amber Valley CVS (home from hospital) – £14,991
Voluntary and Community Services Peaks and Dales (home from hospital) – £18,826
South Derbyshire CVS (home from hospital) – £15,246
South Derbyshire CVS (befriending) – £15,270
Voluntary and Community Services Peaks and Dales (befriending) – £12,000
Amber Valley CVS (befriending) – £16,666
Mencap Service Swadlincote – £4,014
Derbyshire Dales Council for Voluntary Service – £6,008
The Farming Life Centre – £14,520
Rhubarb Farm Community Interest Company – £15,090
Age Concern Chesterfield Careline – £15,538
Age UK Derby and Derbyshire – £23,727
Bakewell and Eyam Community Transport – £12,969
Voluntary and Community Services Peak and Dales (transport) – £15,342
Voluntary and Community Services Peak and Dales (transport again) – £16,545
Ashbourne Community Transport – £5,493

Here are the organisations where funding is recommended to continue:

Headway – £14,406
Cruse South Derbyshire – £17,572
Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Cruse Bereavement Care – £15,500
Stroke Association – £37,777
Stroke Association Information advice and support – £34,867
The Volunteer Centre Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire – £15,333
New Mills and District Volunteer Centre – £25,000
Rural Action Derbyshire – £5,633
Relate Psychosexual Counselling – £6,736
SAIL – £15,000
First Steps Eating Disorders Service – £34,121
First Steps Eating Disorders Service (second grant) – £21,000
BAME Mental Health First Aiders Project – £19,310


(Photo: Zara Jones, Executive Director Of Derbyshire CCGs, by Eddie Bisknell)

Eddie Bisknell (LDRS)

Eddie writes for Nailed through the Local Democracy Reporting Service, in partnership with the BBC. The Local Democracy Reporting Service is a partnership of media outlets sharing reporters to cover council meetings.

Leave a Reply

GDPR, Your Data and Us:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.