LOCAL doctors are appealing to residents across the county to help them decide on healthcare priorities in a bid to find £25million worth of savings.
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.
The survey asks patients their thoughts about whether the CCGs should consider restricting access to various treatments or prescriptions in the future. An example includes altering the threshold at which someone becomes eligible for certain services.
Some of the suggestions have already been formally introduced in other parts of the country, such as restricting access to gluten-free foods on prescription.
Following a report of the findings of the survey, due to be published in July, any of the ideas that could be considered in further detail would be subject to a more formal consultation with the public.
This would provide clear proposals, the reason for these proposals, and invite further public discussion about such plans.
During a meeting of Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG yesterday (Thursday) chairman Richard Davies said the board is in ‘listening mode’ while Simon Trickett, interim chief officer, praised the survey as being ‘open and transparent’.
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 £700 million 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 £25 million more than their combined budgets.
For more information about NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG Clinical Commissioning Group please visit: www.redditchandbromsgroveccg.nhs.uk
Visit www.redditchandbromsgroveccg.nhs.uk for more information.