South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) faces financial deficit

Warwick Hospital
Warwick Hospital

South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is facing a financial deficit of more than £27m - and that figure is likely to increase over the next 12 months.

Now one of the leading members of the organisation wants to know what impact such a deficit will have on treating the public.

The 191 CCGs in England are responsible for the planning and commissioning of health care services for their local area and they do this by buying services on behalf of the population from providers such as hospitals, clinics and community health bodies.

At their board meeting held this week (Wednesday), chief finance officer Paul Sheldon explained that by the end of the current financial year, South Warwickshire CCG would have a deficit of £27.9m. A draft plan for the following year suggests the deficit could reach £31.4m.

In a report to board members he said: “In response to the financial pressures the CCG is experiencing, a review of all expenditure is being undertaken. The review has established a list of services that will be assessed under the CCGs decommissioning and disinvestment policy.”

But he added that because notice periods had to be adhered to, it would be unlikely that any savings would be immediate and would be made in the next financial year at the earliest and that a more radical approach would be needed to return the CCG to financial stability.

Gillian Entwistle, South Warwickshire CCG’s chief officer, explained that the financial problems were an issue across the region.

She said: “We are not the only part of the system that has financial problems - Warwickshire North has a deficit in proportion terms the same as ours - so there is a very serious financial problem and we are buying services that we don’t have the money to pay for. From a national perspective that has got to stop.

“We have to find what’s acceptable locally and nationally - all of those conversations have to fit together and, as you can imagine, it is a very difficult and challenging conversation.”

Board members accepted that there would be a budget deficit of £27.9m but the CCG’s assistant clinical chair, Dr Richard Lambert, asked for further clarification for members of the public.

He said: “I wonder whether we should be thinking about what effects the financial issues we have will have on the whole gamut of what we are commissioning clinically. The public needs to know the effect of NHS policy on them.”