CASH-STRAPPED health chiefs have been told they have to save £12million in Solihull over the next three years.
The NHS has to reduce its costs to balance its budget, with a national shortfall of £30 billion over the next five years.
In Solihull, this means Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – which is led by local doctors and nurses and buys healthcare services for about 238,000 residents – needs to reduce its spend by £12 million – £4 million a year for the next three years.
In a statement released this week, Solihull CCG said it is already working more closely with other providers of health and social care to make significant improvements and savings, but even after these are taken into account, it still faces a £4 million shortfall next year.
It has now brought together a group of local experts to review the effectiveness and value for money of the services commissioned for residents.
This Effectiveness Review Group will make recommendations to the governing body in May as to how the CCG can best make the required savings while having the lowest possible effect on patients.
No details of what services may be cut or scaled down have been released.
But the announcement comes as yet another hammer blow for healthcare in Solihull, which has seen the downgrading of the A&E department, the merger of the Walk-in centre and the current A&E into a 24-hour Emergency Care unit and is also facing the controversial closure of the Ward 10 dementia unit.
Dr Patrick Brooke, Chief Officer of Solihull CCG, said: “This is a tough challenge for us, but it is not something we should shy away from if we are to retain high quality healthcare services for the citizens of Solihull.
“We are committed to commissioning the best possible healthcare for Solihull. An example of this is our innovative approach to securing a long term future for urgent care services in Solihull Hospital.
“We believe that we in the CCG, led by doctors, nurses and Solihull residents, are the right people to accept this difficult challenge in order to ensure a long term, sustainable future for healthcare services in Solihull.”
Dr Anand Chitnis, Chair of Solihull CCG, added: “The NHS is not exempt from the financial pressures of the country in general and we all have to play our part in reducing costs.”
The CCG will be working closely with Solihull Health and Wellbeing Board to reduce the effect the review has on patients as far as possible.
Any significant proposed changes will go to public consultation.