12 July 2018
In-year cuts from the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) having worrying impact on available NHS services and key support groups including city’s Women’s Centre
Continued savings targets for local health services could crush the city’s health services, Greens have warned.
Plans by the local Clinical Commissioning Group to make £50m in savings by next April have provoked concern from the Green Group, who say the programme of cuts will put local services at risk. Information provided by the CCG to the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board Tuesday, 10th July, heard that health funders now face ‘difficult decisions’ about ‘services we can no longer afford.’
In a series of questions to the board, Green Councillors Dick Page and Phélim Mac Cafferty pushed for detail on the impact that changes to CCG budgets will have on local organisations in receipt of public health funding. Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty cited the recent closure of the Kemp Town branch of the Women’s Centre as a poor example of partnership working after funding for its counselling service was pulled by a sub-contractor of the CCG.
Greens are calling on the CCG to publish a comprehensive list of NHS procedures that could be ended or restricted under the proposed savings plans, with Health and Wellbeing Spokesperson Dick Page calling for the public to be ‘properly consulted, so they can see and comment on what these cuts will be.’
Councillor Dick Page said:
“We already know from a recent meeting of Health, Overview and Scrutiny Committee that some NHS procedures, such as tonsillectomies – will be restricted under this huge NHS ‘savings’ plan, and others such as surgery for asymptomatic gallstones could be removed altogether. Our public health funders must be more accountable to the public who will suffer as services are reduced – and we demand they receive a full list of what these cuts mean in practice.
“As we’ve seen with the Women’s Centre, public health cuts have a domino effect, hitting both our immediate NHS services but also causing other public health funders to pull support from our community and voluntary sector health providers as funding becomes uncertain. In these times it is crucial that the Council and CCG work in true partnership, so we don’t lose key services under their watch. The public must be kept abreast of any proposals so they can both see – and comment – on what these cuts will be.”
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty added:
“The loss of one branch of Brighton Women’s Centre because of the decision of CCG contractors to pull funding is a worrying sign of things to come. With more cuts clearly on the horizon it is not acceptable for either the Council or CCG to take their eye off the ball.
“The response that the Council only started working in partnership with the CCG in April provides little comfort – we simply cannot have a situation where the loss of one of our key services comes as a ‘surprise,’ be that in the community and voluntary sector, or the NHS as a whole.”