September 30th, 2016

Care buyers’ battle to stay out of red

Updated: 11:02 am, May 07, 2015

COMMISSIONERS responsible for buying in healthcare services in Redditch and Bromsgrove are also facing a battle to balance their books.

Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group is currently predicting it will deliver a £1.877million surplus, about one per cent of its budget, as required by NHS England.

But overspending in a number of areas, largely due to increasing demand, means the CCG is at real risk of failing to meet its financial obligations unless there is a tightening of the purse strings.

The contract with Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust is forecast to overspend by more than £2.5million by the end of March next year, while agreements with University Hospitals Birmingham and the Royal Orthopaedic Hospitals are currently over budget by £267,000 and £200,000 respectively.

The contract with West Midlands Ambulance Service is also set to be blown by the end of the financial year to the tune of £408,000 while overspends in other areas including mental health placements and prescribing total more than £1.4million.

Although money has been saved in other areas to offset the losses, finance chiefs are warning £935,000 of contingency money and £1.6million of savings have already been committed to support the budget, leaving little room for manoeuvre.

Steve Perks, deputy chief finance officer, told a recent CCG governing body meeting: “Risks are beginning to materialise and we need to keep our eyes on them.”