‘Who knew what, when and where’ query by MP Steve Barclay as Cambridgeshire health body reports tripling of deficit to £48.2m

PUBLISHED: 22:06 04 March 2018 | UPDATED: 07:46 05 March 2018

MP Steve Barclay :

MP Steve Barclay : "I am very concerned at the financial deterioration of the CCG, which has reported a previously agreed annual deficit of £15.5 million has more than tripled to £48.2 million. PHOTO: John Elworthy

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The body responsible for 102 GP practices across Cambridgeshire is under fire from MP and health minister Steve Barclay after reporting a tripling of its previously agreed annual deficit to £48.2million.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is one of the largest CCGs in England – it looks after 950,000 people - and faces what its financial bosses describe as “a significantly challenging year”.

Louisa Ellington, deputy chief finance officer, will tell a board meeting on Tuesday: “As well as trying to control costs as much as possible for the remainder of the year, the CCG is now focused on the actions it needs to take to turn this position around for 2018/19.”

Sharon Fox, associate director of corporate affairs says in a separate report that “as the governing body is aware our total budget in 2017-2018 is £1.1 billion, and the £48.2m deficit amounts to four per cent of the whole budget.

“However, it is important to acknowledge that the CCG has a statutory duty to achieve its financial duties and to achieve the agreed financial deficit with NHSE.

The CCG drew criticism from Mr Barclay who said: “I am very concerned at the financial deterioration of the CCG, which has reported a previously agreed annual deficit of £15.5 million has more than tripled to £48.2 million.”

“The CCG is under legal direction from NHS England, which is also responsible for setting the deficit target.

“Yet NHS England has not communicated this deterioration to me, at any point, either as constituency MP or health minister.

Mr Barclay was also critical of the CCG who he said had, since Christmas, “spent an additional £210,000 on management consultants PwC.

“Last year the CCG spent £1.1 million with McKinsey Consultants according to their annual report to ‘help them deliver on their financial recovery plan”.

Mr Barclay said: “The CCG, under NHS England’s direction, state this tripling of the deficit is due to its failure to deliver on its plans in relation to managing demand for services, and also because it has identified a significant backlog of unaddressed continuous care cases for which no explanation has so far been provided.

“I have spoken with NHS England to seek urgent answers and they have committed to providing a detailed explanation. I understand two directors at the CCG, the nursing director and the finance director, both left at Christmas.”

The MP added: “The chief executive of the CCG left in August, to move to be chief executive of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Trust.

“It remains unclear what these executives knew regarding the back log of continuous care cases.”

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