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GPs told to find £1m prescribing savings as NHS trust overspends by millions

GPs have been told they must deliver nearly £1m of extra savings on prescribing costs this year after a CCG’s deep financial crisis was compounded by millions of pounds of overspends in secondary care, it has emerged.

The struggling NHS Vale of York CCG set GPs the prescribing targets at its latest board meeting, where managers explained they predict an overspend of nearly £8m at York NHS Foundation Trust.

The latest development comes after 30 GP practices in the area delivered a statement of no confidence in senior managers at the CCG to deliver a drastic financial rescue plan.

Local GP leaders described the practices’ outrage when the chief clinical officer was flying out to visit hospitals in Alaska and Seattle to study alternative health care models, while frontline clinicians struggled to balance the books as part of the recovery plan.

Details of the CCG’s latest financial recovery plan – put to the board last week – revealed that among key areas of risk, it has a forecast activity in the trust as ’£7.6m above our contracted level of activity’.

And in raft of new measures to help tackle its deficit, the CCG has told the GP prescribing lead and medicines management teams to plan for ’delivering a targeted £800k further savings in 2015-16’.

The report continues: ‘This was received (3rd September) and identifies a further £830k of possible additional savings in 2015-16.’

In other measures, the report reveals that the ’GP Innovation Fund’ – which was meant to give practices £5 per patient to help them reduce unplanned admissions – has been stopped altogether.

It wrote to GP practices who have received GP Innovation Fund money in the first quarter of the year on 28 August, telling them they could not assume any further funding from 30 June.

NHS Vale of York CCG is under pressure from NHS England to deliver a £23m recovery plan.

The CCG already identified GP prescribing as an area to cut costs last year after forecasting an overspend of £1.4m on its prescribing budget.

It told Pulse: ’The CCG is not demanding cut backs, but a contribution to additional savings and efficiencies that all areas are being asked to support.

‘In line with approaches taking place across the country, the CCG is working closely with member practices to optimise local prescribing and reduce waste through planned savings as part of enhancing its QIPP plan.’

Dr Andrew Field, a GP in Yorkshire, said: ’In our locality there has been a recurrent failure to invest in primary care as a result of the annual scramble to find savings to meet the overspend of our ever expanding acute trust. PCGs, PCTs and now the CCG have failed to manage secondary care contracts adequately or deliver on strategies aiming to limit spending in the acute sector.

’Every year for as long as anyone can remember finance has been taken from primary care to fill the deficit. That’s why we voted no confidence in our CCG’s flawed financial recovery plan which is just another short term measure taking finance away from primary care because the Trust is more than £20million overspent.’

A statement written by the members of the CCG’s council of representatives last month declared no confidence in the proposed financial recovery plan, or the leadership of the senior management team. 

Local GP leaders at YOR LMCs have told Pulse they are taking up the concerns of Vale of York GPs with regional NHS England managers.



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