Sheffield health bosses in public plea after funding cuts revealed

Sheffield CCG meeting at Bramall Lane. Sheffield CCG accountable officer Maddy Ruff.
Sheffield CCG meeting at Bramall Lane. Sheffield CCG accountable officer Maddy Ruff.

Sheffield’s health services face a £30 million gap in finances over the next year - leading bosses to call on city residents to help them set their priorities.

The NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group revealed at its annual meeting that it is facing the worrying shortfall, partly because of a cut to its central grant from the Government.

Dr Tim Moorhead, the CCG’s chairman, said a change to the way government money is allocated means the central grant will rise by 2.2 per cent - but this is lower than the average national increase of 3.4 per cent, and will mean a drop in expected funding of about £7m.

This, along with factors such as inflation and increases in demand and the minimum wage, mean the CCG will have to find savings of £30 million.

Difficult decisions will have to be made, said Dr Moorhead, but the CCG wants the people of Sheffield to help shape it's strategy.

He added: "We have to take into account that your experiences of services will be different depending on who we are and where you are in your life.

Sheffield CCG meeting at Bramall Lane. Sheffield CCG chairman Dr Tim Moorhead.

Sheffield CCG meeting at Bramall Lane. Sheffield CCG chairman Dr Tim Moorhead.

"It’s quite difficult to decide what the priorities are. So we do need to have conversations with you.

"My aim is to make the health of the city better."

At a packed meeting at Bramall Lane in which The Star's editor Nancy Fielder grilled the CCG board, Dr Moorhead outlined his strategy for the next year.

He said: "We had two GP practices shut this year. We don’t want any more of that. We want resilient, strong GPs.

Sheffield CCG meeting at Bramall Lane.

Sheffield CCG meeting at Bramall Lane.

"We want urgent care to be better. I think it’s confusing in this city. People sometimes end up in the wrong place, but not through any fault of their own.

"We need to support people to recover when they come out of hospital and help them become independent again. We should think about keeping people well and not just being a sickness service.

"And we need to prioritise. We don’t have unlimited resources. We have to pick the things that will have the best impact. There’s still waste even though our resources are constrained."

The CCG has come up with a strategy to deal with a 'crisis' in GP care, which is based on freeing up GPs from less complex work so they can concentrate on managing the increasing number of complex patients, the majority of whom are older with long-term health problems.

Sheffield CCG meeting at Bramall Lane. Lay member Mark Gamsu, chairman Dr Tim Moorhead, The Star editor Nancy Fielder, accountable officer Maddy Ruff, medical director Dr Zak McMurray.

Sheffield CCG meeting at Bramall Lane. Lay member Mark Gamsu, chairman Dr Tim Moorhead, The Star editor Nancy Fielder, accountable officer Maddy Ruff, medical director Dr Zak McMurray.

Dr Moorhead added: "We can do a lot of small changes, but the time is probably right for making some much bigger changes as well."

The CCG's accountable officer Maddy Ruff highlighted a number of achievements in the last year. She talked about 'bringing care closer to home', by setting up GP allergy clinics, carrying out gynaecology tests at GP practices and making dermatology diagnoses through photos.

She said the CCG had set up individual care plans, personal budgets for families of children with continuing needs, and social prescriptions such as debt advice.

Mrs Ruff also pointed to the success of the Move More programme, which encourages people to become more active through an app.

“It’s all about how we join up services and commission services where we are all working together,” she said.

Mrs Ruff said the CCG had invested £1 million on children and young people’s mental health services; had set up dedicated mental health for teenagers; created a new service with Sheffield Council for victims of child sexual abuse; and introduced new technology such as responsive inhalers.

Sheffield CCG meeting at Bramall Lane.

Sheffield CCG meeting at Bramall Lane.

And director of finance Julie Newton said the CCG had maintained a one per cent budget surplus - required by the Government - which equated to £7.5 million.

“I’m pleased to say our auditors KPMG gave us a full report saying everything was fine. They didn’t ask us to change anything," she said.

“But this year we are having difficulty delivering one per cent. We have agreed with NHS England only to plan on half a per cent and we are finding that really quite tight and a challenge.”

The CCG spent an average of £1,273 per person in 2015/16, although this could be anything from zero to hundreds of thousands depending on the individual.

Mrs Newton said: “It takes an enormous amount to change the system and switch one penny of our pound between the acute sector and community and primary care. But that’s what we are trying to do.”

The CCG in numbers, 2015/16

500,000 outpatient appointments

78,000 planned operations and procedures, including 900 hip replacements

66,000 emergency admissions to hospital

21,000 babies delivered

189,000 accident and emergency attendances

13 million prescription items

1,700 ongoing care packages

£7,738,747 spent on dementia nursing care

£1,132,704 spent prescribing paracetamol

£2,582 per cesarean birth

£195.03 per ambulance journey

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