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GP lead of financially troubled CCG resigns

The GP in charge of the CCG with the biggest deficit in England has resigned to allow a full-time accountable officer to deal with the financial difficulties.

NHS Bedfordshire CCG, which has a shortfall of £29m, has taken on finance expert Nick Robinson in a full-time post to replace Dr Paul Hassan.

Pulse reported in January that the beleaguered CCG would use almost half a million pounds of funding earned by practices through prescribing schemes to help cut its deficit.

Dr Hassan said: ‘I believe that, given our financial position, we need a full-time accountable officer who can give the difficulties we face their full and undivided attention.

‘Now is the right time to step aside and let a new accountable officer lead the CCG into the next phase.’

CCG chair Steve Hone said Dr Hassan had achieved ‘a great deal for patients’, given that local A&E departments are ‘among the highest performers in the country’, and that hospital-acquired infection rates are also low.

Mr Robinson, who has more than 35 years’ experience in the NHS, including 10 as a finance director, said: ‘My immediate task will be to continue the work that has already been done to regain our finances and ensure we have the systems in place to deliver our financial recovery plans without compromising the high standard of care available to local people.’

Readers' comments (5)

  • I feel very sorry for all of the clinicians and patients. Bedfordshire has never received the correct level of funding

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  • This did not happen overnight and a lot more than the role of the outgoing AO needs looking at. It begs more questions about what the rest of the infrastructure looks like. Best of luck to all in the organization trying to pull this round -I dont envy your job right now.

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  • Its actually £40m overspend. So glad I am a Bedfordshire GP, cant wait for the super mega micro management to 'help' recover from an overspend that had nothing to do with GPs.

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  • From the NHS England press release
    "In summary BCCG is directed to:
    • Produce a plan to improve its governance
    • Produce a plan to improve its finances and put them on a sustainable footing
    • Co-operate with NHS England in the delivery of its improvement plans
    • Co-operate with NHS England over the appointment of anyone to its senior management team, including the Accountable Officer
    • Provide information as requested by NHS England.
    BCCG has done much good work around the quality and safety of services which patients receive. However, only if its finances and governance are on a sound footing can that continue. Today’s issuing of Directions by NHS England is a necessary intervention to ensure BCCG begins and maintains the process of recovery."
    I am not clear how BCCG can do this (even with yet another turn-around team) when some of the problem lies in chronic underfunding (around 10% below 'fair shares' - which is an improvement: it used to be 16%!).

    What are the procedures if, as instructed in the Direction, BCCG does not attain financial balance *and* pay off its debts?
    There is only so much that can be taken from GP practices (such as the prescribing incentives for 2014/15) - especially if practices suspect - with good reason - that one of the 'no stones unturned' areas will be demanding resource intensive work without any apparent intention of funding it..
    DOI - retired 31.3.13: could foresee problems from the HSCA 2012: unfortunately, there are other CCGs also having problems..

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  • Will this lead to a Post Code Lottery situation?
    It looks as though, to return to financial balance (and pay off accumulated debt), some services in Bedfordshire will have to be reduced.
    Nothing - of course - to do with the historical and current underfunding - even though the underfunding doesn't appear to be the whole story.

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