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CCG leader cautions patients to use NHS services wisely


12 August 2016

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Health leaders across two clinical commissioning groups have issued a financial warning as they face a significant financial shortfall in the coming year.

The chief officer for NHS Mansfield and Ashfield CCG and Newark and Sherwood CCG has asked people to use their NHS services wisely as they face efficiency savings twice the level needed in previous years.

Collectively, the CCGs need to save £20 million this year, with Mansfield and Ashfield saving £11.3 million and Newark and Sherwood saving £7.2 million.

Health leaders across two clinical commissioning groups have issued a financial warning as they face a significant financial shortfall in the coming year.

The chief officer for NHS Mansfield and Ashfield CCG and Newark and Sherwood CCG has asked people to use their NHS services wisely as they face efficiency savings twice the level needed in previous years.

Collectively, the CCGs need to save £20 million this year, with Mansfield and Ashfield saving £11.3 million and Newark and Sherwood saving £7.2 million.

Increased emergency hospital activity and prescription related costs are part of the reasons for the additional financial pressures facing commissioners.

The CCG reported 576 more A&E admissions in the first two months of this financial year than the same period last year, with many patients discharged on the same day with advice that could have been offered by a GP.

Dr Amanda Sullivan, the chief officer for both CCGs, said: "A&E is for the most gravely ill or for serious accidents that need specialist and immediate emergency treatment; but our A&E department is routinely reporting that patients are presenting with symptoms that could have been treated at home, at their GP practice or with some advice from a pharmacist.

"People are probably not aware of the increased strain this is putting on services and the costs that they are incurring for the NHS for conditions that could be treated differently.

"For example, advice from a pharmacist does not incur a cost for the NHS, a GP appointment costs the NHS, as a whole, around £46 and an A&E visit for the same condition costs around £120.

“GPs provide a high quality service that is good value for money. They do not receive a payment for each appointment. Hospitals receive much of their income based on the amount of visits or episodes of care that take place.

"These are costs that can be reduced if people change the way they use NHS services. Our message is clear; please do not attend A&E for everyday problems. Use your local GP service or your local pharmacy, and remember the 111 NHS helpline can be accessed 24/7. The out of hours GP service can also be used for urgent care needs that cannot wait until the GP surgery re-opens.

However, the commissioners are asking patients to use the NHS wisely as from March to May 2016 nearly 700 GP appointments were unattended in just one GP practice in Mansfield and Ashfield.

Peter Robinson, chair of the Mansfield and Ashfield CCG Citizens Reference Panel, said: "The position is serious with the CCGs under close scrutiny and expected to recover the situation quickly. The public can respond to these concerns by thinking twice before they waste time of GP practices, nursing and hospital staff time, which is costly. We all have a part to play."

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