Suffolk’s health commissioning groups warn of overspend

Dr Ed Garratt, Chief operations officer for West Suffolk Clinical Commisioning Group, ENGANL00120121129133538
Dr Ed Garratt, Chief operations officer for West Suffolk Clinical Commisioning Group, ENGANL00120121129133538

Health commissioners in Suffolk have warned they could be overspent by £13 million by the end of the yea.

NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), which are responsible for commissioning healthcare services for 600,000 people with a joint budget of £765 million, say they are faced with a ‘challenging future’ as demand for NHS services grows.

The CCGs are currently not in debt, but they say they are at risk of spending in this financial year more than is in their budget unless further efficiencies can be made.

Dr Ed Garratt, the CCGs’ chief officer said: “While we have predicted financial challenges in previous years, this is the most difficult financial position ever experienced by our CCGs. It is a situation which is being replicated across the country.

“We are not in debt, but we have a limited budget and are predicting that by the end of the year we will be spending more money than we have in our budget. We have a major challenge to balance the books. By law, CCGs are not allowed to spend more money than they receive.

“The priority of both CCGs is the commissioning of safe, high-quality health care services which balances the needs of local people and the financial resources available.

“We already work hard to make the NHS pound go as far as possible while maintaining a high standard of care. Suffolk has some of the best clinical outcomes in the country, such as in stroke and cancer, and in general high performing services.

“Current initiatives include providing more support for patients so they can be better treated at home and avoid an expensive hospital admission, providing additional support for Type Two diabetes patients so they can better look after their own condition and greater levels of partnership working with the county’s health and social care organisations. Additionally, both CCGs management costs, at 1.6 per cent of our budget, are among the lowest in the country.

“Clearly, there is a lot of work that needs to be done and over the coming months we will be inviting local people to have their say. The NHS belongs to us all and it is important that we work together to make sure NHS services in Suffolk are the best they can be.”

West Suffolk’s Health Forum is at www.westsuffolkccg.nhs.uk

East Suffolk CCG’s ‘points of view form’ is at www.ipswichandeastsuffolkccg.nhs.uk