Warrington NHS and social care funding merger targets 'inefficiencies'

Warrington Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption The Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has forecast a £7.9m deficit by April 2017

Funding for health and social care services in Warrington could be merged to cut "inefficiencies", the local council's chief executive has said.

The BBC understands a review in 2017 will look at establishing an accountable care organisation, which will fund NHS and council-run services.

Warrington Borough Council's Steven Broomhead said the plan would cut "duplication".

The borough's hospital trust has forecasted a budget deficit of £7.9m.

A Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust report warned in October there was "still a significant challenge to manage cash on an daily basis", while the budgets that pay for council-run adult and children's social care in the town have been overspent by £2.9m.

Mr Broomhead said there was a "recognition that, at a local level, there's a need to bring together all the resources for health and for social care into one place to make sure we derive better benefits for citizens and patients".

"It will achieve greater efficiencies for the use of the public purse [and] better patient benefits and outcomes," he added.

The borough's clinical commissioning group, which pays for NHS-run services, said pooling funding represents "the most effective use of our combined resources" but warned the organisations involved needed "clarity of purpose".

Council officials hope to launch a review on the proposals in January, with funding merged before the end of the year.

Health and social care budgets in Greater Manchester were merged in April.

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