The long-term sustainability of healthcare in West Norfolk will come under the spotlight this week as ambitious plans for a system-wide reconfiguration of services are discussed at two local meetings.
A report examining challenges to the local healthcare system and how these can be met in the future will be presented to the Norfolk Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday (January 16) at County Hall, Norwich.
Dr Sue Crossman, Chief Officer of NHS West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (WN CCG), will tell councillors about proposals to meet the challenges around financial pressures, demographic trends and rising demand for healthcare.
At an Extraordinary Meeting of WN CCG’s Governing Body, also on Thursday, members will be asked to debate a programme of work to review the pathways for healthcare services locally.
NHS England has recently published the revised financial allocations for Clinical Commissioning Groups across England and also the planning requirements for all CCGs to report to NHS England on their plans for the next 2 and 5 years and to seek their approval. A predicted cumulative funding gap for WN CCG of £50m by 2021 creates a need to consider different ways of working across acute and community care in West Norfolk.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is currently reporting a likely year end deficit of £11 million and is under Special Measures by its national regulator Monitor. Some of the Trusts in a similar position elsewhere in the country have been put into administration by Monitor, which would greatly reduce the ability of local people and health and social care professionals to influence the shape of local acute services. This is why it is so important that local partners work together swiftly, to come up with the right plan for West Norfolk.
Phase 1 of WN CCG’s System Sustainability Programme has recently been completed and confirmed the CCG’s view that the long-term future of the local health economy is only viable through system redesign and enhancing integrated care.
Phase 2 involves further work with health and social partners and the voluntary sector to design a ‘blueprint’ for future service configurations. Funding for the next stage of this work has been requested from NHS England, as the CCG budget is almost all committed to commissioning care. A decision on this is expected this week.
Dr Crossman said the plans represented a positive opportunity to re-design and shape healthcare services in West Norfolk which would benefit patients now and in the coming years.
"We are passionate in our role as clinical commissioners to lead the delivery of health and care services for the benefit of the West Norfolk population. We will be involving the public at every stage of these plans to ensure we reflect the needs of local people and there will be various opportunities for patients, carers and the public to share their thoughts with us.
"We are already leading an Alliance of providers and commissioners across health and social care, whose purpose is to deliver improved, integrated services for the population of West Norfolk. We believe this approach has the opportunity to offer future national learning on the challenges facing local healthcare economies."
The Extraordinary Meeting of WN CCG’s Governing Body will take place at 1pm on Thursday in the Wembley Room at Lynnsport and Leisure Park, Greenpark Avenue, King's Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 2NB. Patients, carers and the public are welcome to attend.