THE man set to take over the purse strings of the NHS in our region next spring said the organisation could break even within a year.

Mark Hayes, chief clinical officer of the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said despite a £5.3 million deficit, he hoped the new organisation would be back in the black by the end of the 2013/2014 financial year.

Speaking at the CCG’s third public forum at The Priory Street Centre, he said: “The current financial plan puts us in surplus by the end of next year – that’s down to the hard work of the team.”

The estimated £5.3 million is part of the £19 million deficit run up by NHS North Yorkshire and York, the outgoing Primary Care Trust which will hand over spending powers to the CCG in April.

Dr Hayes warned that the health service in our region still faced major challenges.

“It’s a difficult environment in North Yorkshire,” he said.

“Some of the things already going on, such as the closure of some minor injuries unit, may have to become permanent measures in the short to medium term.”

He also suggested some facilities could merge and used orthopaedic services as an example. “Do we really need a hospital in Leeds, Harrogate, York and Scarborough doing orthopaedics? Those are the kind of questions we will be looking at.”

His comments came as plans leaked to the media suggested NHS North Yorkshire and York had drawn up a “long-list” of hard-hitting cuts including the axing of hospital beds, the closure of night time accident emergency services in Scarborough and the transfer of emergency maternity cases to York.

Trust chief executive Chris Long, said: “The long list would be whittled down to a number of ‘costed options’ which would then go to public consultation.”