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Shropshire and Telford's growing health debt facing scrutiny at meeting of NHS bosses

By Lisa O'Brien | Health | Published:

Finances will be under discussion when health commissioners meet NHS bosses on Friday.

It comes as a report to Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group's governance board this week shows the organisation is now more than £3 million in the red.

Meanwhile, Shropshire CCG could face a deficit at the end of this financial year of more than £40m – in addition to its £76.6m historic debt from previous years.

Health commissioners say there are 'significant cost pressures' particularly around A&E activity, mental health services and ambulance conveyances.

Jon Cooke, chief finance officer at Telford & Wrekin CCG, said representatives from both CCGs and The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, which runs Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford's Princess Royal Hospital, are expected to meet with NHS Improvement and NHS England on Friday.

He told a Telford & Wrekin CCG board meeting on Tuesday that the financial issues would be discussed, as well as any mitigating measures being taken by the organisations.

The outcome of the meeting will be fed back to the governance board at a later date.

Mr Cooke said: "It's important to recognise our position continues to go in the wrong direction around finance.

"Month four year to date is showing a deficit of £3.4m."

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He said this has the potential to rise to a deficit of £10m by the end of the financial year, but added: "We are doing an incredible amount of work behind the scenes to look at this."

Reduce

He said it was important to focus on what can be done to reduce admissions and attendances at Shropshire's acute hospitals.

The meeting was also told that plans to dissolve both CCGs, in favour of creating a single organisation responsible for buying health services for residents across the whole of Shropshire, were on track.

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It is due to happen in April next year.

Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin CCGs need to make cuts of 20 per cent to running costs to save £1.2 million.

Health bosses say the creation of a single body is to support the ambition of the NHS Long Term Plan.

However, the plans have been met with controversy.

There have also been claims that such a change should be subject to public consultation – a matter that was raised by Gill George, chairwoman of Shropshire Defend Our NHS, at the meeting on Tuesday.

In reply, David Evans, chief officer of Telford & Wrekin CCG, said the organisations had taken legal advice and a public consultation was not needed because there would not be a significant change in the delivery of services.

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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