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Shropshire CCG could take over 15 years to repay historic debt

By Lisa O'Brien | Health | Published:

It could take more than 15 years to repay a health group's historic deficit of nearly £60 million, its chief finance officer has said.

It could take Shropshire CCG more than 15 years to repay its historic debt

Claire Skidmore made the announcement yesterday during a meeting of the governing body for Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which commissions health services in the county.

And she also said there is a risk the group will not achieve its planned deficit for the current financial year of £13.3 million.

If it doesn't exceed this figure the CCG could see its debt for 2018/19 written off under a new national commissioner sustainability fund, meaning its total debt will stay the same going forward.

But Ms Skidmore said there is the potential for the CCG to fall short of the target by £2.8m.

Work is ongoing to find ways of closing the gap.

It comes as health commissioners in Shropshire must also find £99 million in savings over the next five years.

Dr Simon Freeman, accountable officer for the group, said the CCG was not looking to cut services but needed to find ways of making them more effective.

He said: "We are looking at new schemes and accelerating existing schemes.

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"We need to get the existing schemes to work more efficiently.

"We are doing everything we can to hit that control total but we won't compromise on patient safety."

He said the CCG's Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) service, which handles repeat medication requests, had so far proven successful with reducing costs from waste and there are plans to roll it out to more GP practices.

Health commissioners say it is just one of the ways they are looking to make savings.

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A finance report, which was put before members of the CCG's governing body at yesterday's meeting, said: "The CCG is expected to deliver a control total of £13.3m deficit in 2018/19 and in doing so meet all of the ‘business rules’ for CCGs (except for achieving a surplus of one per cent).

"However, we have identified early over-performance in our main acute contracts and are therefore reporting significant risk at this stage. "We also have slippage in our QIPP programme.

"Identified risks amount to £8.9m overall against which we have identified mitigations of £6.1m, including using reserves and contingency, but leaving a potential uncovered risk of £2.8m at this stage."

The finance report, which was the latest available, covered the period to the end of June.

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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