Health chiefs: £98m NHS cash gap can be bridged

Plans are on trackPlans are on track
Plans are on track
Wigan Council and NHS bosses insist they are on track to carve a colossal £98m out of health and social care services in the next four years.

If health chiefs can ensure fewer people end up in hospital and seek treatment in GP surgeries instead, the funding gap can be bridged, they say.

For the last financial year that gap was £40.6m - and with an ageing population and greater social care demands that could extend to £98m by 2020-21, according to commissioners.

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More than £36m has been allocated by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Fund, towards the “transformation” of frontline health and care home provisions.

And various aspects of The Deal are expected to chip in with more than £27M of assistance over the same period.

But the philopsophy of “prevention is better than cure” will account for saving a further £36m or so.

Joint commmissioning arrangements are now being introduced which it is said will share the burden between Wigan Council, Wigan Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Trust and North West Boroughs NHS Trust.

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In a joint statement, Wigan Council and Wigan CCG said: “We need to ensure that health and social care services within the borough are financially sustainable so we can continue to deliver the services people need in to the future.

“To do this, we have cost improvement plans and transformation plans which identify where savings can be made. These plans are reviewed annually to make sure that they continue to reflect the care needs of the people of the borough.

“To help us close the financial gap, we are being supported by external investment from the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership through their Transformation Fund.

“This investment will deliver a new integrated out-of-hospital care model with more services in local communities centred around GP practices. This will help us to improve care and reduce costs.”

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Early intervention and prevention initiatives are already said to have delivered an expected £23m worth of savings.

The statement added: “We are committed to improving the quality of care as we transform services and reduce the demand by focusing more on preventing ill health and intervening earlier to keep people independent for as long as possible.

“Using an asset-based approach were we talk to people about what they can do and link them in to support networks in their community is a big part of how we will achieve this. In health, as many efficiency savings as possible will be made through reducing duplication and clinical variation.”