Why is there a need for change?

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With the NHS funding gaps hitting the national headlines, the East Sussex NHS told the Herald what it plans to do in the face of rising costs and potential cuts to budgets from central government.

East Sussex’s four health and social care commissioning organisations, the three Clinical Commissioning Groups and East Sussex County Council, together spend around £935m every year on services for local people.

An East Sussex NHS spokesman said, “Our budget is likely to stay about the same, but demand and the costs of care will continue to rise, so we have a real challenge to make sure we continue to meet people’s needs. We know that if we don’t change the way we organise services to better meet need, our speed of access and the quality of care will suffer.

“So we have an urgent and important job to do. We all need to work together to make sure we spend 100 per cent of that £935m, funded by tax payers, better and more effectively so that every penny really counts.”

Plans include ‘joined up care’ for patients with multiple health issues – so they deal with one health professional rather than several.

“This means greater investment in integrated, community based health and social care, and good access hospital care only when this is really needed,” said the spokesman.

He said within three years there will be a fully integrated health and social care system in East Sussex, which will ensure every patient enjoys proactive, joined up care, which allows them to live as independently as possible.