A new report has suggested that spending £270m on Disabled Facilities grants saves more than double that amount from health & social care costs(*)!
Surely it is time we stopped the wheel of convention, and took a fresh look at the way monies are spent? Just because we’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean it is still the right, or most appropriate way, to do things.
This latest report is just that- the latest. Over the years there have been numerous studies into the best value for money attained by spending a comparatively nominal amount on an adaptation, that reaps dividends in reduction of care and health costs. Yet still we carry on blithely taking months or even years to sort adaptations, inbetweentimes spending vast sums on providing a care worker.
I appreciate some adaptations do require building work. Many don’t. Many are comparatively simple to effect. A toilet lifter, for example, can be easily fitted over the WC, requiring only an electrical connection. A grab rail or support arm just needs bolting to a suitably strong surface, be it a wall or floor.
And so often adaptations are a reaction to an event- a fall prompting a costly stay in hospital, potentially a broken bone. Should we be looking more at preventative steps? Again, reports prove the point: the Building Research establishment has modelled the impact of preventative adaptations, and reckons our refusal to take this approach costs the NHS £414million a year!(*)
With our ageing population, the situation is only going to get worse, unless we make a major change in our approach. Some local authorities are so doing, and realising the benefits in £. Perhaps there should be an incentive to encourage more to follow suit? Or, where a Council has achieved such success, it is suitably lauded.
Maybe what it actually required is a legislative change, with a % of budget withheld if money is being wasted in this way? Then Councils would HAVE to make best use of resources….
(*): Housing Learning & Improvement Network report Health & housing: building the evidence base April 2017