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NHS cuts loom as health chiefs aim to slash £33m

Health chiefs pushed back discussing controversial proposals to cut funding to a number of Cambridgeshire services, just hours before the meeting was to be held.

NHS cuts loom as health chiefs aim to slash £33m. Stock image (13341971)
NHS cuts loom as health chiefs aim to slash £33m. Stock image (13341971)

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for planning and commissioning local NHS services, is planning £33million of cuts next year to plug part of its £192m government funding deficit.

The plans were due to be discussed by the CCG board yesterday (Tuesday). Proposals include suggestions to review all community and non-hospital services so that their funding can be reduced or stopped entirely.

One of the services at risk is the Joint Emergency Team, which supports people over the age of 65 or those with long-term conditions in their home when they become very unwell and need urgent care. Other services like Dial-a-Ride are also threatened with the withdrawal of funding, and services provided by charities including the Stroke Association and the Carers Trust Cambridgeshire and Peterborough also face cuts.

However, following “a large number of submissions and new information from a number of organisations”, the CCG has decided it needs more time to review all the detail. This will happen at its board meeting on July 16.

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner said: “I called for the decision to be delayed and I am pleased that local health bosses have listened and paused to allow further consideration and for service users and staff to make representations. But I don’t want this just to be a two-week stay of execution, which is why I am currently seeking urgent discussions with those affected.”

Dr Gary Howsam, clinical chair of the CCG, added: “Funding for healthcare across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is under unprecedented pressure. We are currently buying more than we can afford, overspending by more than £1m a week, which means we need to make some difficult decisions about the services we can afford to provide in the future.

“Our funding allocation is also not keeping up with population growth or demand and we are working to lobby government for a review of the NHS funding formula.”

The CCG will launch the Big Conversation in late July, which will give the community, clinicians, providers and stakeholders the chance to understand the CCG’s needs and priorities going forward.

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