LOCAL doctors are facing a £25million hole in their budgets.
And now they’re appealing to residents across the county to help them decide on priorities before the cuts starting falling on local services.
So now the local NHS leaders are seeking views on a wide range of potential changes to services as they look to do things differently to address future funding gaps.
The three Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups (NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove, NHS South Worcestershire and NHS Wyre Forest CCGs) are responsible for buying healthcare services for the county’s residents and, with an increasing demand for services, are unable to continue buying them in the same way as previous years.
“At some point in the future it’s simply not going to be possible to continue buying all the services that we currently do, so we need to find ways of reducing what we spend but also make sure that we’re protecting essential services,” said Dr Simon Rumley, of NHS Wyre Forest CCG.
His comments were echoed by Dr Richard Davies, chairman Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG who said: “At this stage, the questions within the survey are just ideas and the results will be used to help us decide whether any might be considered in more detail in the future.”
Residents are able to complete the questionnaire online via the ‘Get Involved’ section on each of the CCG websites.
They will also be able to pick up hard copies of the survey from their local GP surgery over the coming weeks.
Dr Carl Ellson, for NHS South Worcestershire CCG, added: “We’re really keen that as many people across the county take part in this survey.
“It’s important that we hear from the people using these services so that we can make informed decisions that meet the needs of local patients.”
The three CCGs are responsible for buying in most healthcare services for county patients. They have a combined budget of more than £700million covering hospital services, mental health, learning disability services, community services, GP services and medicines.
In 2016/17 if the CCGs continue to buy services in the same way as last year then they will need to spend £25million more than their combined budgets.
A spokesman for the county’s CCGs said: “Every year the CCGs are tasked with making efficiency savings through doing things either better, differently or simply more efficiently.
“This year we have been set a target of making £25million in efficiency savings from our combined budget of £717million.
“The three CCGs have plans in place to achieve this target this year through a large number of schemes such as delivering more patient care in the community rather than hospitals, avoiding inappropriate hospital admissions, and reducing the amount of prescribed medicines that are wasted each year.
“However, every year it is becoming increasingly difficult to make these savings which is why are asking patients their thoughts about whether we should consider restricting access to various treatments or prescriptions in the future.
“The survey is open until May 30, 2016, the results of which will help inform our commissioning plans from next year onwards.”