HEALTH bosses in Wirral are having to make savings of around £105m in four years, the Wirral News can reveal.
Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group, which replaces the local PCT as the group that manages the money for local NHS care, detailed the cost savings plan in its three-year blueprint for future care.
Over a four year timescale, it shows that Wirral’s NHS will have to reduce spending and work more efficiency to make the savings in line with requirements nationally for the NHS to save £20bn.
Year one of the plan 2011-2012 saw local commissioners save almost £30m. Over 2012 - 2013 they are planning to save £24m, 2013 - 2014, around £25m and 2014 - 2015, around £25m.
A lot of the work has already been undertaken to make these cost savings a reality. It is understood the newly formed CCG, which is led by GPs, will be responsible for carrying out the final two years of the plan.
The savings plan will be met through “cost avoidance”, that is not spending unnecessarily, as well as straight forward savings such as saving money by preventing unnecessary hospital admissions, ensuring patients are released from hospital in an appropriate and timely fashion and keeping people with long term conditions out of hospital through effective care.
The plan also outlined the CCGs priorities for the future, listing preventing people from dying prematurely and enhancing the quality of life for people with long term conditions such as heart or lung disease as being among their top priorities.
Helping people to recover from illness or injury and treating and caring for people in a safe environment and protecting them from avoidable harm are also high on their agenda.
The strategic plan also lifts the lid on some of the problems Wirral faces as an area.
It has a relatively high older population and a relatively low population of people in their 20s and 30s compared to other areas in England and Wales.
There are high levels of deprivation in the borough and problems of worklessness and economic inactivity with a pronounced gap between those on very high incomes and those on very low.
In 2008-10 life expectancy in Wirral was 77 years for men and 80 for women.
For the future, the plan says, that in three years time more money will be re-directed to areas that have been under resourced in the past such as dementia, mental health for both adults and children, alcohol prevention and other dependency services. And it says the focus will shift from treatment towards greater prevention.
The CCG was unavailable to comment but Dr Phil Jennings, Chairman and Dr Abhi Mantgani, Chief Clinical Officer, have previously said: “This is the first Strategic Plan we have produced since having been established as the lead health commissioning organisation for Wirral, which reflects our vision to continue to improve health and reduce disease by working with patients, public and partners, tackling health inequalities and helping people take care of themselves.”