NHS services in West Norfolk are not financially sustainable in their current form, a new report has warned.
The claim has been made in an Evidence for Change report which was published by the borough’s Clinical Commissioning Group this week.
But campaigners will be taking to the streets of Lynn tomorrow to seek public support for a nationwide petition demanding the service is properly funded and protected from potential privatisation.
The report follows a series of open sessions held by the CCG across the area last month.
During those sessions, the scale of the challenge facing health service chiefs was first made clear, with officials warning that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s financial deficit could treble in four years unless action was taken.
Key local challenges include an elderly population which is rising faster than the national average, higher numbers of patientis with long-term conditions, low demand for specialist services, attracting and retaining staff and caring for patients in the community.
The report argues that the NHS in West Norfolk is “not financially sustainable in its current form and needs to change.”
CCG chairman Dr Ian Mack said the NHS had changed “immensely” since he began his medical career in the 1980s.
But he added: “We must plan now for us all, as the patients of the future. The challenges we are describing in this report tell us why we need to transform NHS services locally to create high quality and financially sustainable services now and into the future.
“The evidence we have gathered sets out a clear case for change and how the local NHS needs to adapt and update”
But critics worry that reforms could lead to the erosion of local services, particularly at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and the growing privatisation of health provision.
And supporters of the 38 Degrees campaign group will be in Lynn’s High Street tomorrow as part of a nationwide day of action to, in their words, “save the NHS”.
They want election candidates to commit to keeping the NHS in public ownership, ensuring it has the funding it needs and keeping it out of a controversial trade deal with America, which they fear could expose the service to private companies.
Lynn campaigner Les Thurlow said: “We all need the NHS at our best and worst moments in life.
“Our day of action will show our MP candidates that if they want to sell off or run down our NHS, they’ll have a fight on their hands.”