Health Tie-In Needed For Social Services Info Spend

The health department has told social services departments to spend new grants for improving information management on systems that tie in with the new white paper on care outside hospital and preparation for integration with the NHS Care Records Service.

A Department of Health circular gives details of the £25 million grant to local authorities for 2006/7 and 2007/8 and says spending plans should be in line with the care outside hospitals white paper.

The circular says local authorities should also take into account the integration of social care information with health that is planned for the final phases of the NHS Care Records Service.

It adds: “Significant benefits will be gained by using the grant to facilitate that integration, in particular preparation for the NHS Care Records Service implementation.”

Local authorities have until the end of next month to submit their spending plans which will be allocated into a one-off unconditional grant to the highest performing councils and in two allocations to lower performing councils where the money will also be ring-fenced.

The £25 million allocations for the next two financial years follow £78 million on capital expenditure that local authorities have already received since 2001 to develop, improve or acquire systems for improving information management.