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Tackling the NHS funding crisis in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

3rd July 2019
Picture of woman looking at camera at our end of life event.

Healthwatch wants to see people and organisations involved in conversations about how to tackle the funding crisis in the local NHS.

Funding for health and care services is under unprecedented pressure in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Our local health commissioners says that the funding allocation they get from the government is not keeping up with our population growth or demand. 

We have written an open letter to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to support the call for fairer funding and share our worries about the plans to cut NHS services.

We are developing a proposal for a Community Values Panel that will help the CCG understand what is important to local people.

Unfair funding for our local NHS

Healthwatch joins the call for fairer funding for our local population.

Val Moore, Chair of Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, says:

‘We join you and local MPs to urge the Department of Health and Social Care to recognise the extent of underfunding per head of population, plus the growth in the local populations, to provide fairer funding for our local NHS.’

‘We are very concerned about the impact that this financial crisis will have upon the local population given the size of the £192 million challenge.’

In the meantime, we know the CCG must make some difficult decisions about what they are able to pay for. What is important to us is that the CCG are open and honest about the hard decisions that need to be made and how they make them. They need to talk to people about any decisions before they are made and as part of making any changes.

Huge savings need to be made

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, the people who plan and pay for our local NHS, need to save almost £33 million from this year’s budget. 

The CCG are planning to make savings through cuts to community services that they identify as being a duplication of service or not efficient enough. Community services are those providing care to people outside of hospital, for example Dial-a-Ride and Cambridgeshire Hearing Help.

They are reviewing all community services contracts in the first half of the financial year.

The CCG had planned to make decisions on the first batch of cuts at their Governing Body meeting yesterday, Tuesday 2 July, but have now postponed these to allow more time to look at information.

We welcome the delay in making the decision on these services.

Services facing cuts

Community services facing cuts includes the Joint Emergency Team (JET) service run by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, as well as grants to a number of voluntary sector organisations.

We are concerned about the impact of the first phase of the review on voluntary sector grants and community contracts. The majority of voluntary and community sector organisations listed will see their grant or contract funding cut.

We welcome the delay in making the final decision as it is important the CCG understands the impact of the decisions they are making.

Funding IVF

The CCG were also planning to cut IVF services which have been suspended since September 2017. The decision on this has now been delayed until the next Governing body meeting on 6 August.

On the morning the decision was due to be taken, they received a letter from Department of Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price who had written to CCGs about IVF services.

She said: “I cannot emphasise enough that it is not acceptable for CCGs to offer no routine access to fertility services. All CCGs should move towards full implementation of the NICE fertility guidelines recommendations”

At the time, we said the cuts were against national guidance, would affect people on low incomes the most and may not save the planned money from local NHS budgets.

We helped the CCG understand the impact this decision would have on local people by collecting feedback from people affected by the decision. We shared this with the CCG as part of the review and it is included in the CCG’s papers for this meeting.

Integrated joined-up care is the prize, not to be sacrificed

It is important that funding cuts don’t undermine the good work that has been done to help make health and care systems work together better.

Lots has been done to invest in community support services to help keep people out of hospital when they don’t need to be there. 

We welcome the CCG’s honesty about potential service cuts and the opportunity for their Big Conversation about what’s most important to people locally.

We have heard many people don’t just want the same or more. They tell us they see duplication and waste in administration and want these tackled first.

Involving the public in looking at ideas, and an overall list of potential cuts at an early stage is welcomed. We want to know more about how this big conversation will take place at all levels, and how Healthwatch can help people to have a voice.

It is important that people are consulted properly on any significant changes or cuts to services, so that patients, the public, local government, service providers and other partners fully have their say. 

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