Hospital cuts and review of whole local NHS as “perfect storm” of increasing financial pressures batters our hospitals

Staff from Monitor (the NHS competition enforcer) were at the Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee (JHSC) meeting on 25 March to explain what Monitor is doing about our Hospitals Trust deficit.

In 2015/16 and 2016/17 the short term plan comes down to making cuts (aka “efficiency savings”), as recommended by Price Waterhouse Cooper accountancy company, and also using all the Trust’s cash reserves to pay off the deficit. CHFT will present this short term plan in  May 2015.

In a Groundhog Day moment, the JHSC heard that CHFT’s longer term strategic financial plan for a cost-saving “reconfiguration” of the hospitals is likely to include proposals for putting all acute and emergency services on one site. And there will also be a review of the whole “local health economy”, to be carried out by all the area’s NHS organisations and both Local Authorities. Continue reading

Our hospitals’ Healthcare Information Director jumps ship to American-owned healthcare data company

Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals Trust Director of Informatics, John Rayner, recently announced he’s resigning and will leave his job at the end of January 2015.

He is jumping ship to work for the Healthcare Informatics & Management Systems Society (HIMSS)-UK, a subsidiary of the US-based company HIMSS.

HIMSS got its UK foothold by buying the Harrogate events management company Citadel in 2012.

It now appears to be well in with NHS England, as HIMSS is a co-sponsor with NHS England of UK e-Health Week 2015, a two day event at the National Hall in Olympia on March 3rd and 4th. Continue reading

Cuts to A&E per capita payments mean A&E departments can’t meet costs

The Foundation Trust Network Chief Executive, Chris Hopson, recently blogged that cuts to the A&E tariff for patient admissions above the 2008/9 baseline have made it impossible for A&E departments to treat “skyrocketing admissions.”

Calderdale A&E must be running at a loss, because admissions have gone up since 2008/9, but under NHS payment rules drawn up by Monitor and NHS England, Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group is only allowed to pay Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust 30% of the tariff for any A&E admissions over 2008/9 baseline.

Matt Walsh, Chief Officer of Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCCG), told a CCG Governing Body meeting last year that this restriction lay behind CCCG’s request to Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust (CHFT) to commission the National Clinical Advisory Team (NCAT) to review urgent care and to report on recommendations for the CHFT to consider. Continue reading

Make NHS Foundation Trust Hospitals democratically accountable

The creation of NHS Foundation Trusts put hospitals beyond the effective scrutiny of local MPs.  This means that the last people to hear about and be involved in changes to their hospitals are the people who use them – and pay for them.

The case of Halifax and Huddersfield A & E is an example of this. Calderdale CCG’s Chief Officer Matt Walsh said at the CCG Governing Body meeting on November 14th that CCCG had asked Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust (CHFT) to commission the National Clinical Advisory Team to review urgent care and to report on recommendations for  the CHFT to consider. This review took place over the summer and autumn, within the CHFT.

CCCG expects CHFT’s recommendations to come through to its Strategy Review committee some time in December.
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