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Secondary care cuts to ‘overwhelm’ GPs with work

GP practices are threatened with being ‘overwhelmed' with workload after a major north-east hospital launched a £40m cost-cutting drive.

Cleveland LMC warned the pressure to shift work into primary care and community services was already causing ‘significant issues'. Announcing the cost-cutting programme in a letter sent to all local GPs, Alan Foster, chief executive of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust, warned the trust faced ‘the most difficult financial position' in its history.

‘We will need around £40m-worth of savings in the next three years if we are to stay solvent as an NHS foundation trust,' Mr Foster wrote. ‘This is the most difficult financial position we have ever faced and will mean difficult and unpopular decisions will have to be made.'

Board minutes from Cleveland LMC state: ‘Significant issues [are] arising with work moving from secondary care into primary care without any associated funding – £40m is being cut from North Tees's secondary care budget.'

Dr John Canning, a GP in Middlesbrough and chair of the GPC contracts and regulation sub-committee, said: ‘We are concerned a lot is being cut from secondary care and shifted to primary and community care. We simply do not have the capacity – practices are threatened with being overwhelmed.'