Massive overspend fear if no action taken in county council budget for the elderly

SPIRALLING costs of caring for Cambridgeshire s rapidly ageing population are expected, if no action is taken, to lead to a massive overspend by the county council. Of the �4.9 million overspend being projected in the current year, the county council says

SPIRALLING costs of caring for Cambridgeshire's rapidly ageing population are expected, if no action is taken, to lead to a massive overspend by the county council.

Of the �4.9 million overspend being projected in the current year, the county council says it expects to pick up �3.3 million of this extra spending.

Community based care packages, direct payments and costs of looking after people in care have all contributed to the increase.

"The forecast cost of these services has increased by six per cent from 2008/09" says Nick Dawe, the council's finance director.


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He has prepared a report to Cabinet next week in which he will reveal that all those involved in the service "are working together to undertake an urgent, detailed analysis of the activity underlying the current projected overspend".

Mr Dawe says councillors should treat the overspend project "with some caution" until more checks have been made but an action plan is needed.

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Cambridgeshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Older People's Services, Councillor Fred Yeulett, said: "Cambridgeshire is the fastest growing county in the country which brings significant year on year increases in the demand for support and services from people aged 65 and over.

"We have to assess need and provide services to anyone who is eligible - regardless of the cost or impact on budgets, which are pooled with the NHS. The unpredictable demand and context of the recession makes it extremely difficult to forecast spending with absolute accuracy.

"We are working with our partners and have developed an action plan and put in place measures which will reduce or resolve the overspend by the end of the financial year."

Alison Gilbert, Associate Clinical Director, Cambridgeshire Community Service (CCS) said: "As a provider of services to older people, CCS are working with NHS Cambridgeshire and the county council, both of whom commission services using the pooled budget, to review the projected overspend and put in place the actions required to ensure best use of resources for the benefit of local residents."

Chris Banks, Chief Executive of NHS Cambridgeshire, said: "NHS Cambridgeshire is working closely with NHS and County Council colleagues to look at the current figures. Whatever the outcome providing good quality care for people who are in need will remain our priority.

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