Health service commissioning will “not be affected” despite group’s £1.8m shortfall


- Credit: PA

The Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group is required to break-even by March, but it has said this position will be difficult to achieve

Health commissioners in Suffolk have insisted they will not reduce the level of services they commission in the county, despite new figures revealing the group is currently £1.8million short of its financial target.

The details were revealed at today’s governing body meeting of the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group.

Attendees were told that while the group is still committed to breaking even by the end of March 2016, a position required by NHS England, the shortfall means it will be “difficult to achieve”.

Reasons behind the shortfall, which were detailed in the governing body’s latest report, include Ipswich Hospital charges of £2.7m, prescribing costs of £900,000 and continuing healthcare costs of £500,000.

The shortfall was made public on the same day that the CCG launched its Do You Take It? campaign, which aims to get patients to think about their repeat prescription medicine and only order the items that they need. This is to be extended to all the group’s services.

Julian Herbert, the CCG’s accountable officer, said: “Like every other NHS organisation in the country, our CCG continues to face financial pressures in meeting the increasing demand for services.

Most Read

“We know that people care deeply about their NHS and while there can be no overnight solution, we are determined to improve our financial position through strengthened partnership working across the health and social care sector.

“By working together, more effectively and more efficiently, we can ensure services are more joined-up so that they best meet people’s needs and represent value for money.”

“We currently have no plans to reduce the level of services we commission and ensuring the best of care for our patients continues to be our priority. Our plans will focus on becoming more efficient as an organisation and commissioning more effective and efficient services and making sure local people are involved at every stage.”

Tony Rollo, chair of Healthwatch Suffolk, added: “This news is concerning, however, it is widely known that our local NHS services face huge financial pressure, which will only increase with time as people live longer.

“We will maintain a keen interest in monitoring how the CCG will seek to make the necessary savings and hope that it remains committed to its plans not to reduce the level of services in our county.

“We have the role to ensure that local people are at the heart of any decisions made about the future of health and care in Suffolk and would hope that the CCG will work with us wherever possible to ensure that this is happening.”

The CCG has an annual budget of £450m. It’s current ‘in-year deficit’ for 2015/16 is £1.7m, which represents the £1.8m shortfall.

CCG bosses are now discussing the matter with NHS England, but it is not yet known what, if any, action would be taken if it failed to meet its financial requirements.