NHS shake-up: £300m deficit if nothing done to transform healthcare

PUBLISHED: 09:49 29 November 2016

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Healthcare leaders have unveiled a vision for a new-look NHS in North Somerset, featuring plans to reduce hospital admissions by 30 per cent and save millions of pounds.

Pressure building on the NHS

- Demand for GP services rose by 13 per cent between 2008 and 2013/14 in the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) area.

- £1.5billion is spent on health services every year across the BNSSG footprint.

- In 2015/16 the BNSSG NHS deficit was £72million – but that will grow to more than £300million by 2021 if no changes are made.

- 22 per cent of people in the BNSSG area are obese, 61 per cent are overweight.

- 19.1 per cent of the BNSSG workforce is older than 55 – meaning a recruitment crisis is looming.

- 26 per cent of North Somerset’s population is over 65, putting more pressure on the district’s NHS.

The radical plan aims to prevent ‘duplication’ of services at different hospitals, reduce outpatient appointments by 15 per cent and places extra emphasis on community care.

The Government asked NHS leaders in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) to create a sustainability and transformation plan (STP) for the next five years.

The STP will shape healthcare for close to one million people and is the joint effort of 15 NHS organisations across an area where an ageing population is putting pressure on services and recruitment is proving difficult.

If nothing is done, the gap between spending and the available funding for BNSSG will rise from £72million to £305.5million by 2021.

Expert consultants are also assessing ways for Weston General Hospital to become sustainable and the STP says it could adapt to focus on key specialties to avoid spending cash on underused clinical services.

STP leader Robert Woolley said: “People are living longer with complex conditions and our health services cannot keep pace. We want to move from a system rooted in hospital-based care to one where we focus on preventable illness or injury.

“We also want to strengthen collaboration between hospitals to reduce duplication and ensure services are as efficient as possible.”

The STP aims to reduce the need for hospital treatment by offering lifestyle advice and support from pharmacists and GPs to help people manage their illnesses.

Even when hospital help is needed, the hope is people will return home more quickly, as community care will be in place.

GPs could also be run in clusters of four or five surgeries, covering 30,000-50,000 patients, allowing them to share specialist staff.

STP strategic director Ben Bennett said this could combat recruitment issues. He added: “By getting practices to work together, and giving them support, it allows them to work through their options.”

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