A deficit of nearly £900m for the first nine month of fiscal 2016/2017 year is forcing the NHS to draw up plans for radical changes and reorganization. The plan foresees everything from cutting some specialist services to full closer of hospitals. The aim is to save £22bn which in future will be needed to face the increasing demands of the aging population. The prepared plan includes also forming a so called “super” groups of GP’s, nurses and care workers, plus the option of seven-day access to GPs services and “bringing the care close to people homes” by getting hospital specialists to return into small community clinics.
The whole plan is divided in 44 local strategies which focus on different measures corresponding to the needs of each region. Some of the harshest cut backs like reducing the number of hospitals effect the regions of South West London, Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. In other regions like Nottinghamshire, the plan includes reducing the number of hospital beds by 200. The same measures will affect Dorset and Derbyshire. The loss of hospital beds is an ongoing process reveals a report published by the NHS at the beginning of this week. It says that in the last six years over 15,000 beds were lost, which is around one in ten of all beds.
The plans offer “an opportunity to move care closer to home and moderate demand for hospital services.” stated the NHS report.
The independent charity organization King’s fund engaged in “working to improve health and care in England” made its own research regarding the proposed plans and according the Chris Ham, chief executive, “ministers and local politicians should back NHS leaders in implementing essential and often long-overdue changes to service”. He also expressed his concerns that some of the measures are too extreme. “We do not think now is the time to start cutting back on acute hospital beds and capacity, anything like on the scale set out in some of the plans,” Ham also said.