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NHS Funding cuts in Cambridgeshire outlined as health chiefs look to save £33 million


By Ben Hatton, Local Democracy Reporter


The latest draft proposals for cuts to NHS funded community services in Cambridgeshire were revealed today – but a suggestion was made some services may not be as badly affected.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioner Group (CCG) is looking to cut £33m out of its annual budget – around £1.3b – and has already delayed key decisions that were due to be taken on July 2.

Yesterday (July 11) the chair of the CCG’s governing body, Dr Gary Howsam, the medical director, Dr Mark Sanderson, and the director of external affairs and policy, Jessica Bawden, updated members of the Cambridgeshire County Council’s Health Committee on plans for some of those savings.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioner Group (CCG) is looking to cut £33m out of its annual budget. Stock picture
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioner Group (CCG) is looking to cut £33m out of its annual budget. Stock picture

The CCG said it delayed the decisions on July 2 because it received new and better information and so it wanted to reconsider.

And by pushing back the decision the CCG raised the prospect that cuts may not be as severe as first suggested – with organisations currently in receipt of grants making the case to keep them.

Yesterday CCG leaders could provide little detail on their intentions for the majority of the proposed cuts, but did identify where at least £750,000 of those will fall under the latest plan.

The draft proposals show four voluntary sector organisations, including Dial-A-Ride in Cambridge, and The Stroke Association Cambridgeshire, are still in line to have their grants ceased.

Ms Bawden said none of those organisations rely solely on the CCG for funds.

The largest contract discussed at the meeting, £3.6m for the Joint Emergency Team (JET), is listed under a category for contracts to be renegotiated or where further information is required – meaning its future is still ambiguous.

But speaking after the meeting Ms Bawden suggested fewer cuts may now be made after the two week delay.

“There’s been a review, and there are likely to be fewer contract ceasings on Tuesday,” she said.

The proposals are from a “working draft” and may still be amended, but the finalised plan – which will decide the future of contracts worth several million pounds – will be put to the CCG’s governing body on July 16.

The CCG also said it will be pushing back the start of its “Big Conversation” public consultation on future service delivery, which will now start in August instead of July.

The chair of the health committee, councillor Peter Hudson, ended the discussion by saying he had concerns over short-term decision making, rather than a transformation of the service.

He said he would write to the secretary of state to raise concerns over the “critical situation of the CCG and the concern we all have as a committee for the health and wellbeing of our residents”. And he said he would make the case for more funding.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG says it is currently overspending by £1m a week and is, per head, the third lowest funded CCG in the country.

BREAKDOWN OF PROPOSED CUTS

Grants to voluntary sector organisations to cease in the draft proposal:

Dial-A-Ride – a community transport service covering the Cambridge area, which provides non-emergency transport for patients. £6,516 per year.

Carer’s Trust – Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk – a support service for carers. £364,724 per year.

The Health and Wellbeing Network – single point of contact management service for voluntary sector health organisations. £100,000 per year.

The Stroke Association Cambridgeshire – supports stroke victims. £34,355 per year.

Contracts to decomission in the draft proposal:

DMC Healthcare (Dermatology) Cambridge – out-patient dermatology service for nine GP practices in Cambridge. £166,357 per year.

Evolutio (Ophthalmology Triage) Peterborough – triage service for GP referrals. £78,289 per year.

Optom RRS Ophthalmology Triage – ophthalmology triage service for GPs. £17,980 per year.

All other contracts that were set to be reduced in the July 2 meeting are still under review.



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