The NHS in East Sussex has to save £200 million over the next five years after being flagged up as one of 11 counties in dire financial straits .
The staggering amount of money that needs to be saved in that period was revealed as the county was named by Monitor, the health sector regulator for England, as one of the 11 ‘financially challenged’ healthcare economies in need of support.
The county’s three local Clinical Commissioning Groups are responsible for managing the majority of the county’s health budget and a spokesperson has warned the scale of the challenge is ‘vast’, and would inevitably involve making ‘bold changes to local services’.
The news come following the downgrading of services at the DGH and could see further cuts within the NHS.
Monitor, NHS England and the NHS Trust Development Authority have agreed to fund a series of projects to help groups of commissioners and providers work together to develop integrated five-year plans that will address the local challenges they face.
The 11 areas, which include Mid Essex and South West London, have been chosen on the basis that they will benefit most from external support in the first few weeks of the new financial year.
A spokesperson for the three local CCGs said, “We welcome the announcement of additional support to help us address our very significant financial challenges.
“The NHS in East Sussex has a history of overspending its budget which Clinical Commissioning Groups can no longer allow to continue.
“The scale of the challenge is vast. In total we will need to reduce costs in the local NHS by some £200 million over the next five years. We will need to consider how we can deliver currently-unsustainable local services in a fundamentally different way, to provide better care for patients and better value for money.
“This will inevitably involve making bold changes to local services and some difficult decisions over the next few years.”
Darren Grayson, chief executive of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the DGH, added, “We welcome the announcement of additional support to help the NHS in East Sussex address the significant challenges to sustainability that the local healthcare economy faces.
“The trust has already undertaken a large amount of work to ensure services are sustainable and deliver quality for local people through the development of our clinical strategy: Shaping our future. However, we know there is more to be done.”
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