Concern over North East and Cumbria health budget £1bn shortfall

Health plans
Image caption "Sustainability and transformation" plans have been drawn up

The NHS in the North East and Cumbria could be £1bn over budget by 2021 if nothing is done to reduce spending, analysis by the BBC has revealed.

Health bosses are looking at efficiency savings such as downgrading one or two accident and emergency units.

Other areas being reviewed include; acute medicine and surgery, maternity, orthopaedics, and paediatric services.

Campaigners have expressed concern and are planning a protest over what they claim are plans to cut services.

'Services under threat'

Analysis by the BBC Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria programme of draft plans and other documents has found the NHS will outspend its allocated budget by well over £1bn if savings are not made and the way services are delivered is not changed.

"Sustainability and transformation plans" have been drawn up for individual regions, or health "footprints", and include the possibility of downgrading one, or both, of the A&E units at Darlington Memorial Hospital and North Tees Hospital in Stockton.

Campaigners are planning a march between hospitals in County Durham and Teesside. They will set off from the Friarage Hospital, in Northallerton, and finish at Darlington Memorial Hospital a week later.

Jo Land, one of the campaigners, said: "All services in our NHS footprint area, which is the area that we're walking, are under threat."

Those behind the plans- a combination of clinical commissioning groups and health trusts across County Durham and Teesside - said they were being drawn up by senior doctors and surgeons locally.

It said in a statement: "They are looking at general practice, mental health, providing more care in the community, and improving prevention as well as treatment.

"Other aspects of A&E, including urgent care, paediatric assessment and frail elderly assessment could still take place locally.

"No decisions have been made about which services may move as part of this work, but we will be sharing further details of plans later in the Autumn."

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