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County will face a £200m shortfall in health budgets
A PREDICTED shortfall of £200m faced by one of the county’s health organisations by 2020 will be “impossible to bridge” it has been claimed.
Last night Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said he would try to secure a debate in the House of Commons about the budget gap which was was revealed in a report by Oxfordshire’s Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG).
And audit and accounting firm Deloitte has now been brought in to help the county’s GP-led OCCG, which has a budget of £650m.
Earlier this month the Oxford Mail revealed the OCCG could face an £11.1m deficit after its first year.
OCCG chief executive Dr Stephen Richards warned the situation would get worse unless things changed.
Speaking at a meeting of the county’s health and wellbeing board yesterday, Dr Richards said a combination of the payment by results contract – which involves OCCG paying for all operations and procedures – with the Oxford University Hospitals Trust, and the fact more people were being treated had contributed to the financial situation.
He said: “We have for the first time put in place this type of contract of payment by results.
“Unless we can prove exceptionality, we are obliged to pay for the work they do. They are doing more procedures, so we are billed for more procedures.”
In its strategic direction report, the OCCG states: “If we continue with the current model of care, the gap between the projected spending requirements and the resources available to the OCCG will rise to almost £200m by 2020/21.”
He said an increase in the demand for health services in 2012/13 had been seen as a unique spike, but was in fact a warning of things to come.
He also said patients had a part to play in bringing down costs. He said: “The figures are worrying and we do need patient involvement and public involvement if we are going to do things differently.
“In other words, people turning up with very minor illnesses and waiting there for less than four hours is actually putting increased demand on our financial position.”
Healthwatch Oxfordshire chairman Larry Sanders said: “They are in an impossible situation.
“It will mean that people will not get operations that they otherwise would. Some CCGs are already rationing and saying you will only get hip replacements when you reach a certain desperate point – unless you can find a few thousand pounds up front.
“People will suffer.”
Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said: “It will prove impossible to bridge that kind of gap with continued efficiency savings or cuts and retain the standard of health services the public wants to see.
“As the needs of older people take up a bigger proportion of health budgets, the current formula – which gives less to areas like Oxfordshire with relatively good historic levels of health – is going to be more out of step with reality – and unfair to Oxfordshire – given the ageing local population. I will apply to the Speaker for a debate on this in the Commons.”
Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry said the report was “nothing new”. He added: “Even if health spending continues to grow in real terms, it is necessary for the NHS to be efficient with managing resources.”
OCCG spokesman Richard McCrann said: “Deloitte will be helping OCCG to deliver as much saving as possible in the current financial year and assisting OCCG deliver what will be a significant quality, innovation, productivity and prevention plan for 2014/15.”
HOSPITALS ‘WASTE’ £1.5m ON ENERGY COSTS
HEALTH bosses are “wasting” more than £1.5m in energy costs, a campaign group said yesterday.
The Churchill Hospital was the seventh “most wasteful” in England in 2012/13 and could have saved £760,308, it was claimed.
The John Radcliffe Hospital ranked 13th. It could have saved £559,298 on its utility bills, The TaxPayers’ Alliance said.
Official figures show Headington’s Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre could have saved £178,706, it said.
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust – which runs the hospitals – said no-one was available for comment. Its total water and energy spend was £10.2m.
The campaign group divided costs by energy and water usage and compared it to the average cost by all NHS authorities. It said county facilities run by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust like Littlemore Hospital could have saved £59,463.
Trust spokesman Alistair Duncan said: “We always strive to minimise our energy and water costs and welcome the opportunity to examine data that help us achieve this.”
He said the trust has invested in technology, such as ground source heating pumps, and combined heat and power generators will be installed at Littlemore Hospital.
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