£550,000 To Solve Home Care Crisis

The long waiting list for home helps in Calderdale has been blamed on a cash shortage. Councillors were told an extra £550,000 would be needed immediately to give the most needy people the help they require. Calderdale Council Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel was told the entire budget was at risk of overspending to the tune of £2 million and that home care was just a small part of it.

Around 300 extra hours of home care are needed each week and as a result some of the most needy people have now been consigned to the waiting list.

Bob Metcalfe (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) said: “It concerns me that so early on in the financial year we are already overspending.”

Last year the health and social care budget underspent by £140,000, but had to take measures earlier in the year to avoid going into the red.

“It seems each year they are living in a state of crisis management, overspending and then having to take steps and make cuts to recover,” said Coun Metcalfe. “A department can’t operate normally with such financial problems,” he said.

Acting director of health and social care, Phil Shire, said the home care budget could not be easily controlled because it was affected by the specific needs of the community at any given time. He added that sometimes more money was needed and sometimes less.

But the department needs to find £550,000 in total to avoid overspending on home care this year. Mr Shire said: “Waiting lists for home care could get worse over the coming months because of restrictions on spending.”

Olwen Jennings (Lib Dem, Todmorden) said: “The Government states that people should not be in residential care unless they really need it. We are not obeying this directive.”