NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG’s) work to improve its performance is highlighted in the NHS England annual assurance review.
Whilst the healthcare commissioner scored an overall ‘requires improvement’ for the second year in a row, the results show areas of strength and best practice, as well as reflecting the increasing financial challenges faced by the CCG.
Dr Andy Mimnagh, chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “These are demanding times for the whole NHS and these challenges are mirrored locally here in south Sefton. We have already begun to speak with our residents and partners about the testing environment we are working in and about our plans to make services sustainable and effective for our patients into the future.
“Demand for services is increasing, as is the cost of those services. Coupled to this, we have a higher than average number of older residents with complex health needs and our budget has not increased in real terms.”
Just over 20% of the population are aged over 65 years compared to 18% nationally, with this expected to grow to more than 38,300 people in the next 10 years. Whilst the CCG received 1.54% more money this year, the increase was much less than the national average of 2.14%. Coupled with increased local pressures and inflation rates, the CCG saw no real terms growth in its budget allocation.
Areas of good practice highlighted in NHS England’s assessment include meeting or exceeding performance for the majority of standards set out in the NHS Constitution, as well as achieving a good overall assessment for cancer services. However, key areas of challenge focused on the CCG’s deteriorating financial position and the performance of urgent care services.
“We have set a savings target of £16 million this year to meet our duties, so like all other public services this will mean we have some difficult decisions to make in the months ahead and the views of our local residents are vital in moving this work forward. We are already working hard on our improvement plans and feel that there are opportunities where we can make quality changes at the same time as achieving savings. Our repeat prescription ordering scheme is one example of how we are doing this.”
Keen to involve residents in its plans, NHS South Sefton CCG discussed some of these challenges at its recent public Big Chat event. The CCG updated attendees on how their views from earlier Big Chats have fed into its work to make services more efficient and effective. People were then asked for views about what more the CCG can do to safeguard quality care into the future and at the same time make savings to ensure it continues to spend its budget wisely.
Andy added: “We know that services need to change the way they operate if they are to remain effective and efficient, so they can continue to meet the needs of our residents into the future. Our Shaping Sefton programme focuses on how, working together with our partners, we can better join up services across health and care to address this.
“Also, it’s more important than ever that we prioritise the money we are allocated effectively, to ensure that all our patients have continued access to high quality, essential health services when they need them and that effectively address priority areas of health including cancer, dementia and mental health.”
You can find out more about Big Chat 8 from the NHS South Sefton CCG website www.southseftonccg.nhs.uk.
More information about NHS England’s annual assurance review can be found on the NHS England https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/ccg-annual-assessment-201617/ and My NHS https://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/performance/search websites.