Call for change in how health cash is spent

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A LEADING doctor has said that the £245m spent each year on health services in Portsmouth needs to be focused on different areas.

The Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is in charge of buying in health services for the city, has held its first annual meeting.

There, commissioners gave an insight into how the CCG’s £245m budget is spent.

Dr Tim Wilkinson, chairman of the CCG, warned the NHS was faced with funding challenges in the future.

He said: ‘We are faced with a rising population, changing needs of our population as well as rising demands.

‘There are also challenges with new technology, rising costs and no growth in our funding.

‘So the message is clear – we have to reshape our services within available resources.’

Around half of the annual budget – £129m – is spent on acute, or hospital care.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, gets the majority of that cash.

Dr Wilkinson added: ‘Most of our funds are in the acute trust, and there’s certain things they are doing, that could be done in the community.

‘It’s something that has been historically practised, but we have to question how things are being done.

‘Part of this is looking at both finances and staff.

‘If we want to keep people out of hospital, such as respiratory or heart patients, then we need the staff and financial resources to support that.

‘If we want patients to come home, then we have to redesign our services.’

The CCG also highlighted how much, on average, it costs taxpayers, each time a service is used – a breakdown is given below.

‘If you call NHS 111, you can call before you may need to go to A&E,’ added Dr Wilkinson.

‘You can see it costs less to get advice over the phone, but if you’re sent to a clinic, then it’s still cheaper than going to A&E.

‘You’ll have been advised to go to the best place to get treatment – whether that’s a pharmacy, your GP or going to A&E.’

INSIGHT INTO COSTS FOR HEALTHCARE SERVICE

THE service that buys healthcare for Portsmouth said about £1,150 is spent on each person in the city.

The Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group gave this breakdown on how the cash is spent in the city:

· £129m spent on hospital care.

· £32m spent on mental health.

· £31m spent on prescribing medicine.

· £24m spent on community health.

· £14m spent on continuing healthcare.

· £12m spent on centrally-held costs.

· £3m spent on social and voluntary care.

About £1,150 is spent on each person in the city, which breaks down as the following:

· £605 on hospital care.

· £150 on mental health.

· £146 on prescribing medicine.

· £113 on community-based care.

· £70 on various other services.

· £66 on continuing healthcare.

For the 215,000 population of Portsmouth, in a year there are:

· 122,000 outpatient appointments.

· 42,000 emergency department attendances.

· 23,500 emergency admissions.

· 16,000 planned admissions.

And an outline of some service costs:

· £1,600 to £2,300 on an average birth.

· £1,500 a day on a patient in critical care.

· £156 on a new outpatient appointment.

· £63 to £258 for A&E attendance.

· £100 for basic ambulance callout.

· £5,750 for a hip replacement.

· Out of hours service - £13 for a phone call, £50 for an appointment, £167 for a GP home visit.

· £27 for an X-ray.

· £1.67 for basic pathology test, like a urine or blood test