Bid to reduce health debt by £2m

PUBLISHED: 12:21 28 December 2006 | UPDATED: 10:22 24 May 2010

BOSSES at North Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT) believe they can reduce its multi-million pound deficit by £2m before April. The PCT says over prescribing by GPs is one of the main areas overspending has been taking place. Bosses are now working closely

BOSSES at North Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT) believe they can reduce its multi-million pound deficit by £2m before April.The PCT says over prescribing by GPs is one of the main areas overspending has been taking place. Bosses are now working closely with surgeries to make sure patients are offered the most cost effective drugs.Chris Born, chief executive of the PCT, said: "We are looking at lots of different ways to bring us into financial balance. We are working closely with GPs on prescribing. It's not about cutting costs but using the most cost effective drug for patients."Mr Born also said the PCT is looking at the more specialist packages of care it funds when people are severely disabled or injured in an accident.He said: "Often people with a physical disability need a lot of care and sometimes we haven't got local services so we have to fund a placement in a specialist unit elsewhere."Sometimes it's better to work out if we can find the same services and meet their needs locally which would be better for the person and it would be more cost effective."The PCT is also looking into other ways of supporting people at home so they do not have to go into hospital. One of the ways it is tackling this is through its new assessment unit. Patients are referred to the unit and assessed to see if there are other ways their treatment needs can be met.This new service will help reduce hospital admittance and costs next year and Mr Born says they are already on their way to reducing the deficit. Management costs are also being looked at to see if any changes can be made to reduce expenditure.He said: "At the moment the deficit is £14.5million. We are likely to bring it down by at least £2m this year. Next year we want to halve the debt and the following year we will bring it back into balance. It's a long haul but we think we can do it."The PCT, Weston Area Health Trust and the council's executive have also agreed to work more closely after councillors called an emergency meeting to make sure the PCT's cash crisis was not having a knock-on effect on council services.The council's adult social services and housing department is also facing an overspend due to a demand in home care and the three parties have agreed to meet again in January to decide how to work together to provide the services.

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