NHS services in Cambridgeshire facing £250million shortfall within five years

NHS Cambridgeshire

NHS Cambridgeshire - Credit: Archant

Health services in Cambridgeshire face a massive overhaul as the NHS in the county faces a £250million deficit in five years.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has revealed the start of its System Transformation Programme for 2018/19, which concludes the county’s health system is not financially sustainable.

The blueprint says that if NHS services in the county were to do nothing, they would face a combined £300m budget shortfall but with cost improvement plans, this is reduced to £250m. The CCG says to break even by 2017/18, efficiency savings of four per cent year-on-year are needed, but admits this is unlikely.

Care design groups – which propose and test affordable ideas – have identified savings of £80m. However, this leaves Cambridgeshire needing to plug a £170m hole.

The CCG is focusing on the children and maternity, primary care, including acute services such as A&E, and mental health services to find the savings, as well as a new system for elective and non-elective care. However, what it means for the county’s hospitals is, as yet, unclear.

The project aims to develop a new children and maternity service model for Cambridge-shire and Peterborough, as currently the services “do not meet the needs of the population”. A question mark was also raised about the configuration of children and maternity services across the three providers – Hinchingbrooke, Addenbrooke’s and Peter-borough City hospitals.

The CCG will outline proposals for children and maternity services in March, ahead of a consultation in June.

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Dr Fiona Head, the system transformation programme director, said: “The System Transformation Programme is tasked with looking at how to address the significant challenges faced by the Cambridgeshire and Peter-borough health system. It follows on from Cambridge-shire and Peterborough being identified as one of 11 challenged health economies nationally.”

A spokesman for Circle, which runs Hinchingbrooke Hospital, said: “A&E admissions are up, there aren’t enough social care places, and pressure on wards is growing. It’s unsustainable, so it’s hardly surprising NHS leaders are discussing how to secure the system for the future. Circle will play a full part in the discussions led by the CCG. Patients are the priority in this process, and Hinchingbrooke’s improvement since 2012 means it is well-placed to play a central role in the local health economy.”

Matthew Winn, chief executive of Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, which runs Holly Ward and the special care baby unit at Hinchingbrooke, added: “The CCG-led system transformation programme encompasses a wide range of adult and children’s hospital, community and mental health services across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. It is too early to comment on the outcome of this work for any specific service. However, people can be assured that the priority for all NHS organisations locally is to ensure the health needs of the communities we serve are met in the most effective way within the resources available, now and in the future.”

Full details are expected in June.