Shropshire health group's deficit hits £59.7 million
The organisation that commissions health services in Shropshire has entered the new financial year with a deficit of almost £60 million.
Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) built up a deficit of £27.1m last financial year, which has been added to the previous total deficit of £32.6m, meaning the amount in the red is now £59.7m.
The group failed to meet its target set by NHS England of a deficit of £19.4m in the financial year 2017/18, with an overspend of more than £7m, whereas Telford's CCG currently has no deficit, and is carrying forward a £6.9m surplus.
Simon Freeman, accountable officer of Shropshire CCG, said: "That largely came about because of issues in the accounting of various finances including continuing healthcare.
"Any overspend is a concern, but I think there there are reasons why that happened that are understandable and explainable.
"The money will get added to our cumulative deficit which we will have to pay in due course. It'll be better this year.
"Our plan for this financial year is to get to a control total of a deficit of £13.3m.
"We've got to present to NHS England a long term financial plan which demonstrates how we will repay that money."
Waiting times for patients in the county's A&Es are falling below targets.
Patients should be admitted, transferred, or discharged within four hours of arriving at an A&E department.
Ambulance response times a problem
In March last year 67.2 per cent of patients were dealt with within four hours, against a target of 95 per cent.
Dr Freeman added: "People should be relatively easy to treat within four hours."
He added: "Ambulance response times are always a problem in rural areas, we're trying to work with West Midlands Ambulance Service to improve the waiting times."
Another issue the CCG faces is tackling rural isolation in Shropshire.
Dr Freeman added: "Every CCG has its issues, we live in a big rural county, how do we deploy services efficiently.
"The way we're going to address this is our Shropshire Out of Hospital programme.
"We will put a frailty front door in at the A&Es, targeted case management looking at the medical history of those most likely to be admitted to A&E and multi-disciplinary community teams who will be looking at how to care for people more effectively."
The news comes ahead of Shropshire CCG's governing body meeting and annual meeting tomorrow.