Health and social care services could be in line for a major reshuffle in a bid to fill a projected £100 million blackhole.
West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (WNCCG), which is in charge of buying health services in the area, is facing a £50 million funding shortfall over a 10-year period while service providers such as Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital , are facing a similar amount.
The WNCCG is embarking on a project to integrate closer working between doctors, nurses, social workers and healthcare assistants to save time, money and improve the patient experience.
WNCCG chairman Ian Mack said this work is important.
He said: “I want us to have ownership of the issues in West Norfolk and make the decision for ourselves. I want to avoid a situation where if Monitor was to put the QEH into administration and use the powers they may acquire under the Care Act, which is going through Parliament, we could potentially limit the ability of local clinicians and local people to influence the shape of health and social care services.
“This project is a positive step forward, we go into it with our eyes wide open about the size of the challenge. This is about keeping local ownership of our healthcare system.”
West Norfolk and its aging population create unique challenges for local services.
The new project aims to cut out a lot of duplication work.
Evidence has been given of patients answering the same questions to different organisations and being subject to scores of care packages.
Information also does not flow efficiently as different computer systems.
The work will also be looking to reducing the number of different clinicians patients see while being treated.
WNCCG has been given £200,000 by NHS England to work on the service review.
The project team will be looking at quality improvement clinical design, reviewing the scope of the services, contracting and procurement along with the property owned by the different services.
Speaking at the extraordinary WNCCG meeting on Thursday, chief officer Dr Sue Crossman said: “There is no easy solution. We have to look deeply into more innovative ways to work efficiently to improve co-ordination of care and reduce duplication and waste while improving the patient experience.”
West Norfolk residents will be encouraged to take part in the public consultation.