NHS GPs' group in Solihull rated 'inadequate' after £9m deficit - The Solihull Observer

NHS GPs' group in Solihull rated 'inadequate' after £9m deficit

Solihull Editorial 24th Aug, 2017   0

THE organisation overseeing Solihull’s NHS family doctors has been rated ‘inadequate’.

It now faces intervention in a bid to turn around its performance.

NHS Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – the borough’s group of GPs which buys services for patients – has been given the lowly rating for the last financial year, 2016/17, which ended in April.

The group attributes the problems to financial pressures.

It began this financial year with a £9.2million deficit – breaching its legal duty to break even.

More than one-fifth of patients, 21 per cent, had to wait a week or longer to speak with a doctor or nurse in Solihull after making an appointment.

It is the highest wait in the West Midlands region, according to the recent GP Patient Survey for 2017.

Doctors’ representatives nationally say services are at ‘breaking point’ from government ‘under-investment’ at a time of rising demand from patients.

But NHS England, which oversees the doctors’ CCG groups, is demanding ‘turnaround’ in performance at Solihull CCG.

In a letter from NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens, seen by the Observer, Solihull CCG has been given four weeks to produce an effective plan to balance the books – for the short and long-term.

NHS England has directed Solihull CCG to appoint a new chief finance officer.

There is also public consultation on future joint commissioning and closer arrangements for the three Birmingham and Solihull CCGs.

It comes as NHS regions are required to make major cuts and savings to balance the books through so-called Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) – in hospital and out-of-hospital health care.

A statement from Anand Chitnis, chair of NHS Solihull CCG and Paul Jennings, interim chief executive officer of NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCGs states: “NHS Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is proud to be rated ‘Outstanding’ for cancer and ‘Good’ for mental health, by NHS England in their end of year 2016/17 assessment.

“However, due to the challenging financial position of the CCG, we have been rated as inadequate overall.

“Although the CCG has been working in ‘financial turnaround’ since the beginning of 2017, we had anticipated that NHS England will use legal directions to support us in delivering against our financial challenges.”

“… Solihull CCG will continue to work hard to deliver against our £18m savings target; we do not believe that this will adversely impact upon the current services being provided to patients.

“.. Whilst our financial position is challenging, we continue to deliver better health outcomes for our patients, as is demonstrated in other areas of our end of year assessment.”

But a key independent Kings Fund report last year stated GPs reported that improved commissioning had ‘yet to translate into significant improvements in the quality of general practice’.

Despite the problems, the vast majority of patients surveyed this year remained satisfied with their GP.

The government’s Department of Health says it is investing an extra £2.4 billion, with 5,000 more GPs by 2020, and has made changes to ensure more GPs are available in the evenings and weekends.

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