Plans to maximise the use of health money while driving up quality

10 Sep 2019 02:44
Published by: Kian French

A proposal to bring Bury's health commissioner back into financial balance by identifying savings of £7.4m has been given the green light by health bosses.

NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group's governing body held an extraordinary meeting to receive a financial update and consider a range of savings proposals including new ways of working to maximise the use of public monies while driving up quality.

This financial year is proving to be very challenging for public services in Bury. Bury Council and the CCG have joint savings of £25m that need to be identified.

Half (£12.5m) of these savings relate to the CCG and have been driven by historic underfunding of around £8m per year, demographic pressures (growth in population and an ageing population) and increases in demand for services.

A number of savings schemes have already been identified; however, in order to identify the remaining savings of £7.4m, the CCG's governing body has approved two schemes for immediate implementation and a range of proposals to be worked up further for consideration.

The two schemes approved for immediate implementation will bring savings of approximately £100,000 this financial year (full year effect £490,000). These are:

  • Reducing the volume of Vitamin D deficiency testing 0 these tests are deemed of limited clinical value and of a relatively high cost.
  • Monitoring procedures of limited clinical value - this is to ensure the best use of resources, clinical time and positive patient outcomes by ensuring that only procedures that are clinically appropriate take place.

In addition, the governing body agreed to proceed with a number of service reviews that could save around £7.2m. Health managers and clinicians have focused on areas where it is felt that savings could be achieved while minimising the overall impact on local people. These reviews will explore the opportunities to get better value for money, drive up quality and make services easier to navigate.

Areas to be explored will include intermediate care, outpatient services, learning disability respite services and a review or urgent care services. Urgent care services will include all aspects of care where a health concern is considered too urgent to wait for routine care. The current urgent care system in Bury has evolved over time and is complex. This review will include all services provided in the community, including walk-in centres and right through to those provided in A&E.

These proposals will require further work before being brought back for consideration by the governing body in October. While these schemes are not expected to have any impact this year, they must be progressed urgently in order to tackle the underlying financial deficit in time for next year. Additional work is needed to determine how the CCG will achieve a balanced position at the end of the year.

Dr Jeffrey Schryer, chair of NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and local GP, said: "This financial year is proving to be very challenging for Bury Council and the CCG with joint savings of £25m that need to be identified across the two organisations. Our priority is to maximise the use of the funds Bury has been allocated to provide a range of public services, and to improve quality while simplifying the way people access services.

"As a responsible commissioner, and in response to the challenges we face, we must look at and do things differently. We have discussed and debated all areas of spend and have been careful not to propose any changes where we don't fully understand the impact that this may have elsewhere.

"The proposals that require further work will be brought back to the governing body for consideration before any decisions are made, and at that stage we will carefully consider the level and duration of any public involvement that will be required on any proposed changes."

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