Monitor boss threatens deficit-ridden NHS hospitals with cuts to services and takeover into hospital chains

The NHS competition enforcer David Bennett has told NHS Foundation Trusts that if they don’t bring down their deficits, they will lose their freedom to decide their own strategy and the way they run their services. This includes the power to retain their surpluses and borrow to invest in services for patients.

The 152 foundation trusts together face a £1bn deficit this year, but the government has decided this is “unaffordable”.

Austerity punishing poor for mistakes of rich

David Bennett, the Monitor boss, told NHS finance directors they have to bring this deficit down by speeding up productivity improvements and working in new ways.

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Hospital bosses’ “irresponsible” acceptance of £22bn efficiency cuts will harm patient care

The Secretary of Calderdale NHS 38 Degrees campaign group has slammed a statement by Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals trust’s Chief Executive and other hospital bosses across England, that they’ll accept the government’s proposed £22bn efficiency cuts in exchange for the Prime Minister’s backing for rapid hospital cuts and closures, and funding for “new models of care”.

Among these new models of care are Calderdale’s “Care Closer to Home” scheme, which aims to cut acute and emergency hospital services by taking services for frail elderly and chronically ill patients out of Calderdale Royal Hospital and putting them into the “community”.

Owen Williams, Chief Exec of Calderdale & Huddersfield hospitals Trust, recently co-signed an NHS Confederation letter to the Prime Minister where NHS bosses accepted the government’s £22bn “efficiency” cuts programme for the NHS, while calling on the new Conservative government to honour its manifesto promise of an £8bn extra funding/year to carry out the big changes identified in NHS England’s 5 Year Forward View, plus funding for “transformation” and social care. Continue reading

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

Councillors’ Democratic Scrutiny 1, NHS Chiefs’ Smoke and Mirrors 3

Calderdale Council Adult Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel meeting on 28th July failed to effectively question hospitals Trust chiefs about their “Balanced Plan” for meeting a £20m funding shortfall this financial year, and a £19m shortfall in 2015-16.

By failing to provide clear straightforward information, equally the NHS chiefs failed in their duty of candour as public servants.

Chatting after the meeting, a group of Save Our Hospitals campaigners expressed deep scepticism about the conduct of the meeting as well as confusion about what had been said. Continue reading

Have hospitals Trust’s secret £20m spending cuts jumped the public consultation gun?

A secret Hospitals Trust plan shows how the Trust is making government-imposed savings of £20m this year.

In April, the hospitals Trust agreed plans for £13.45m cuts this financial year.

Now it has come up with schemes to generate the extra £6.55m needed to make savings of £20m.

These schemes include raising an unspecified amount of new income from private patients and overseas visitors to the Trust. Continue reading