North Yorkshire facing 'radical' health care cuts

The plan is designed to tackle a multi-million pound overspend

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The "biggest shake-up of health provision in a century" is set to take place in North Yorkshire as NHS bosses make "radical" cuts to save money.

Senior officials at NHS North Yorkshire and York revealed they have to deal with a £19m budget deficit and £22m of "efficiency savings" in the next year.

They are planning fewer hospital stays and more community care packages.

Dr John Crompton, who represents GPs in the area, claimed years of under-funding had led to the difficulties.

And spokeswoman for the health service union Unison said: "It's outrageous that NHS organisations are being forced into this by the government's austerity measures".

The county's NHS chief executive Christopher Long said in the authority's total budget of £1.25bn the deficit of £19m may not seem much, but that figure was "the best case scenario".

'Received a bung'

Speaking ahead of the release of board papers to be considered by the authority on 26 June, Mr Long admitted he did not know what cash settlement would come from central government for 2013/14.

And he said a shake-up of services including cutting hospital stays and more care from community-based staff were the authority's way of wrestling with the cash dilemma.

Start Quote

We need to invest in community services”

End Quote Christopher Long NHS North Yorkshire and York chief executive

The authority had got previous financial help from the NHS North of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA), but Mr Long said that body would cease to exist on 31 March, 2013.

He said: "Traditionally we received a bung [from the SHA] to bail out our bottom line, we always received additional money, so our accounts show a surplus.

"We have received £100m over six or so years from Strategic Health Authority.

"We will not be receiving that funding so the deficit will show on our accounts.

"Unless we can deal with the deficit we will start following year with £19m less than this year and next year it could well be a £38m problem.

"We need to look at how services are configured and delivered.

"We need to invest in community services for people with long-term conditions and also ensure the frail and elderly stay well."

'Low funding'

Dr Crompton said: "They've come clean about the deficit and that the SHA has bailed North Yorkshire out.

"GPs are taking over commissioning and will have to take over the deficit and there will need to be radical cuts.

"The problem is that North Yorkshire has inherent low levels of funding, it's one of the lowest levels in the country.

"The books cannot be balanced despite good quality medical services being provided."

Dr Crompton said residents "should lobby their MPs about this level of funding".

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