Effort to cut £150m from health budgets

CASH WOES The NHS is under intense budget pressure
CASH WOES The NHS is under intense budget pressure

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NHS trusts across the area are looking to save a staggering £150m-plus this year, The News can reveal.

The trust which runs Portsmouth hospitals has already this week announced plans to axe up to 99 jobs in a bid to save £30.5m. But now NHS Hampshire – which funds healthcare across the county - has declared it needs to shave £105m off its budget.

NHS Portsmouth – which pays for city healthcare – has to save £15.2m, while the area’s ambulance service needs to save £6m.

Richard Samuel, director of strategic planning at NHS Hampshire, said: ‘It’s obviously a big challenge to make these kinds of savings but we can do it.

‘It’s all about working together to see how we can do things differently and get the best value for money.’

The reason for the massive savings is down to reduced government spending. Also the health service as a whole was last year told it needed to make efficiency savings of £20bn by 2014.

NHS Hampshire and NHS Portsmouth’s savings could have a huge impact on Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham. They pay for patients’ treatment at QA but are looking to transfer a lot of that care into the community. Health chiefs say it’s much cheaper to treat someone in their home or at a clinic than in a hospital setting.

Mr Samuel said: ‘This isn’t about cutting services, it’s about finding new ways of working while also improving the quality of care.

‘There’s lots of ways we’re looking at doing this. A key focus will be treating more people in the community. We would never seek to keep somebody out of hospital if they need to be there, but we know a large number of people are admitted to hospital unnecessarily and could be cared for or treated at home or in the community.

‘We are also looking at the criteria for treatment and surgery and ensuring we’re not putting money into areas where there’s limited clinical values. And we’re looking at the buildings we own to see if we need them and can dispose of any.’

He added: ‘There will undoubtedly be change in services but changes will be driven by the need to improve care for patients.’

How each trust will make the savings is ongoing and they don’t have all the answers at present.

But details of savings plans will be released in the coming months.

NHS HOSPITALS TRUST

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has to make £30.5m savings this year.

To cut costs it’s axing up to 99 jobs, and looking at ways to deliver services differently.

The trust will also look to be more productive by maximising the use of its theatres and reducing cancellations of surgery.

NHS PORTSMOUTH

NHS Portsmouth needs to make £15.2m worth of savings.

Key areas being looked at include treating people in the community rather than in hospital, supporting people in their homes so they don’t need to go into QA, and reviewing criteria for treatment.

NHS HAMPSHIRE

THE savings target for NHS Hampshire is £105m this year.

Similar to NHS Portsmouth, the trust is looking to save money by providing more care in the community.

It is also looking at things such as its estates and whether it needs all the buildings it owns, and the use of agency staff.

AMBULANCE TRUST

THE ambulance service has to save £6m this year.

Plans for these savings are still being put together and will be released in the coming months.

But the trust assures it’s not going to make redundancies and people they will not see any changes in the service.