Hampshire County Council to spend £7.25billion on elderly care over next decade
HAMPSHIRE County Council has agreed to spend up to £7.25 billion over the next 10 years to buy contracts for residential and nursing care under a county-wide framework.
The authority said the move could include partner organisations Southampton City Council and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board, which should help tight finances and ensure value for money.
During the financial year 2022/23, Hampshire County Council (HCC) arranged 1,934 new long-term residential and nursing placements for people aged 65 and above, showing demand had risen more than 5% from the previous year.
More than 80% of these placements were acquired from the independent sector, while the remaining 20% were placed within the county council.
The executive lead member for adult social care and public health, Cllr Liz Fairhurst, has now approved the expenditure of £7.5bn over 10 years to enable a new framework by the county council and its potential partners to provide residential and nursing care from next year.
It should bring about a flexible way to purchase various care home services for both older and younger adults.
An officer’s report stated: “We believe the care home framework will bring us a new opportunity to work for the wider and larger market.
“We will be able to call for a variety of contracts during that period; they could be for a short term or a long term. The inclusion of partner organisations means that we have a really good positive opportunity to collaborate in a way that we haven’t before.
“We aim for market sustainability, predictability, improved contract management, and the ability to support special services.”
HCC has paid higher rates for care placements in the past three to five years. In 2022/23, it spent £163m on residential and nursing services for older adults. Additionally, £3.8m was allocated for respite and emergency placements.
Currently, it is procuring residential and nursing services, which include services for younger adults and respite placements. The budget allocated for all the residential and nursing services purchased by adults’ health and care in 2023/24 is £266,387,000.
With the financial pressures in adult social care, the new framework was born to ensure efficiency for providers, offer optimum outcomes for individuals, manage costs and provide the best value for money.
It is being established to enable the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board and Southampton City Council to call off their own contracts. If they request, the county council can act as a lead commissioner or work jointly with them as appropriate.
Director of adults’ health and care, Graham Allen, said: “This is the largest procurement of its kind probably as a local authority we have brought forward.”
Cllr Jan Warwick said: “We are very aware of the challenges facing adult social care, particularly in the healthy market across the country, not just in Hampshire. For our residents, reassuring to have both value for money and quality of care.”