Spotlight falls on NHS budgets at panel event

Portsmouth hospital trust named in top 40 by service

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BUDGET restrictions were top of the agenda at an event where NHS leaders met the public.

Questions on a range of health topics were put to a panel of bosses in the field.

The Putting Patients at the Heart of Portsmouth: Find Your Voice event was organised by patient support group Healthwatch.

Questions were put to a panel, which included Ursula Ward, chief executive of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Dr Jim Hogan, leader of the Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group, and Alex Whitfield, the chief operating officer for Solent NHS Trust.

The event took place at the Oasis Centre, in Arundel Street, Landport, where about 30 members of the public were present.

One question was about if budget restrictions would have an effect on Portsmouth.

Dr Hogan said: ‘Funding from the NHS won’t go down, but it won’t go up either.

‘There’s a growth in costs and there’s an ageing population.

‘In Portsmouth, we have inherited a good position and have been protected from rationing, but there is no doubt there will be changes to the service.

‘We might not be able to afford what we want and will need to decide what we need, and that needs to be discussed with the people of Portsmouth.’

Julian Wooster, strategic director for adult and children’s services for Portsmouth City Council, said the budget change is a ‘real opportunity to improve what the council does and create efficiencies and make savings’.

It is hoped a similar event will take place again.

Audience member Dorothy Anderson, of Lapwing Road, Milton, said the event was interesting.

The 64-year-old said: ‘I thought people should have been able to ask questions on the day. I liked their honesty.

‘I would put questions forward and attend, but only if I felt I was being listened to. A lot of the time your voice can get lost.’

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