Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Health trust in cuts warning
HEALTH officials are being warned they must make ‘radical, unpalatable’ spending cuts in York and North Yorkshire – or they might be unable to pay for services and drugs.
The deepening financial crisis facing NHS North Yorkshire and York is spelt out bluntly in a report by chief executive Chris Long to a board meeting tomorrow.
He warned: “If the risk of overspend is not managed, there is a significant threat that the organisation will not be able to make payments to trusts, GPs and other contractors for services and products such as drugs.”
He said the primary care trust could only avoid overshooting the £19 million deficit which was forecast less than four months ago by taking “immediate and extraordinary measures.”
He admitted that the measures would be unpalatable but claimed they were vital. “It is fully acknowledged that the local population and our stakeholders will be uncomfortable with the short-term actions we need to take to ensure the deficit does not exceed £19 million,” he said.
“Whilst we fully appreciate their concerns, we must take action to protect NHS Services for the majority.”
He recognised the trust “may not take everyone with us,” but said it was committed to ensuring that, while people may not agree with the decisions it had to take, they were fully aware of the reasons behind such decisions.
Mr Long said full details of proposals would be outlined and discussed at tomorrow’s meeting, but said: “They include a number of measures to reduce elective activity, including ensuring that thresholds with regard to treatment are adhered to.’
An elective procedure is planned in advance, rather than carried out in an emergency, and can range from cosmetic surgery and tonsillectomies to hip replacements and scoliosis surgery.
Mr Long said delays to a number of development schemes, including the expansion of health visiting services, had been agreed, and notice would be given for a number of local enhanced services currently provided by GPs over their normal contract.
York Central MP Hugh Bayley said the worsening situation resulted from demand for services continuing to soar while funding was now only increasing annually by 0.2 per cent above inflation – compared with 6.2 per cent above inflation during the previous Labour Government – compounded by poorer funding for the local trust than many others in the region.
He feared the existing postcode lottery – which denied local people treatment that they might receive if they lived, for example. in Leeds or Hull – would now worsen. He called for the trust to consult closely with people across York and North Yorkshire to get their views before deciding which spending should be cut and which should be preserved.