It has been a very busy three months here at the CCG as we put in place a plan to recover our financial position, which many of you will have read about. I am pleased to tell you that the plan we have put together has been approved by NHS England and they have kindly given us some leeway with our statutory duty to break even in this coming financial year, which is a great help to us. We have set ourselves a challenging financial target which we will be doing our utmost to deliver. The good news is that our plans will put us in a very strong position to make significant investments into the local health care system in 2019/20 financial year.
This year we are really trying to get you, the public, to help us deliver savings and use the local health care system more appropriately. You may have seen some newspaper coverage of a recent press release we put out. As I have said here before we are encouraging patients to self-care and discouraging GPs from prescribing drugs which are available over the counter in pharmacies and supermarkets. It must now be widely known that the public can buy paracetamol for less than it costs the NHS to supply them. With the hay fever season just weeks away I wanted to encourage you to get simple antihistamines and anti-allergy nasal spray in the pharmacy; for antihistamines ask for the cheapest form of cetirizine they stock, don’t buy the more expensive brands, similarly ask for the more inexpensive beclomethasone nasal sprays.
You can also help us and yourself with your lifestyle choices. Living a healthy life, that means eating healthily, losing weight, taking exercise and stopping smoking, will mean you will be less sick and improve your wellbeing, which is good for you and the NHS. Also losing weight and stopping smoking before you have planned surgery can make a significant difference to how quickly you get over the operation and how effective it is.
Finally, just a word in support of our local hospital. They have been so busy in the last few months that at times their occupancy figures were more than 100%. Think carefully before you go to A&E. The Emergency Department is there for people who have been injured in accidents or are taken unwell suddenly in an emergency and who are too sick to see their GP. You can also help us and yourself with your lifestyle choices. Remember, if you have a minor ailment, seek advice from 111 or your pharmacy first, if you are sicker than that or have already spoken to your pharmacist then see the GP. He or she can arrange for a hospital opinion if they feel you need it.
The NHS is here for you, use it wisely.