Health board makes making progress clearing £1m debt owed to Flintshire Council
The North Wales health board is making progress in clearing the £1m debt owed to Flintshire Council.
Last month Flintshire councillors expressed frustration that invoices to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board for joint social care packages had gone unpaid, in some cases for years.
These care packages, half-funded by each authority, provide support to people often with complex needs.
With the council staring at a £32m deficit in next year’s budget, members felt the authority needed to press the health board to pay up, with a couple of councillors suggesting taking the matter to court if necessary.
At a special meeting of Flintshire Council’s Social and Health Care committee, senior figures from the health board were on hand to answer a number of questions on a range of subjects.
They moved to reassure councillors that the issue around invoices would be resolved.
With the health board facing its own deficit of around £10m, Connah’s Quay South Cllr Bill Crease (Ind) asked whether it would be able to pay the outstanding debts.
He said: “What impact is that going to have on the £1.3m, £1.4m we’re trying to collect in Flintshire?”
The health board’s executive director of finance, Sue Hill responded to say a large chunk of the money had already been paid and plans were in place to sort out the remaining
She said: “It won’t have any impact on it.
“I think we paid about a quarter of a million last week, so that’s starting to bring the debt down, that has made a big difference.
“What we need to recognise is that we need to work together to clear the debt because where we’ve got invoices that are in dispute is because we haven’t got the paperwork for the debt.
“With the actions we have agreed with the team we will bring that £1m debt down to around £400,000 and then we’ve just got a couple of things we’re looking at with that balance as two children’s cases equate to £200,000.
“It is something that is resolvable, we just need to work through the details on the make up of the debt, and it is something agreed with the invoices raised.”
Flintshire Council’s Chief Officer for Social Services, Neil Ayling, echoed the comments from the health board.
He added: “What the councillors have said about needing to bring that level of debt down has been acknowledged by all of us.
“That figure is much lower now and we will report on that progress fully to the Corporate Resources and Overview scrutiny committee. It’s an improving picture.”
Mr Ayling added that there were also discussions about a “potentially creative way” of resolving cases where there is disagreement about which authority is liable to pay.
By Rory Sheehan – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).
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