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Health bosses approve cost-cutting plans

Health bosses approve cost-cutting plans

Published at 7:01am 7th October 2016. (Updated at 6:15pm 7th October 2016)

The Governing Body of NHS Harrogate and Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has approved a range of measures to address what it's calling the "challenging financial imbalance" it faces.

Last month, the CCG shared its savings challenge of £8.4 million.

It says the rise in demand on local health services and increasing costs is outstripping the allocation of money it receives from the Government. 

The new measures involve trying to encourage healthier lifestyles, to try and prevent as much ill-health as possible. 

The measures agreed include:

  • All people who have a BMI of, or greater than, 30 or people who smoke will be offered a referral to either a weight management programme or stop smoking services for a six-month period of health optimisation before being considered for an operation.
  • Review of follow-up appointments to reduce unnecessary hospital visits.
  • Work with GPs and community pharmacies to promote a reduction in the cost of prescribing medicines and numbers of GP visits where self-care and medicines can be accessed more quickly and cost-effectively from over the counter at a local pharmacy or supermarket.

Speaking about the measures, the CCG's Chief Officer, Amanda Bloor, said: "The CCG has undertaken a thorough review of all the services it commissions based on clinical evidence to support the decision-making process and I feel the measures we are taking encourage patients to take a greater responsibility for their lifestyle choices. It is vital that patients are given the skills and knowledge to take accountability for their own well-being to ensure we all lead healthier lifestyles.

"The CCG are not saying patients can't have the surgery. By introducing a six-month health optimisation period, we are encouraging and supporting patients to undertake a lifestyle change which will provide them with the best possible clinical outcome.

"The NHS spends around £9bn a year on patient care for those living with diabetes and with spending on obesity-related ill-health and smoking-related illness increasing year-on-year, these measures will help protect the future finances of the CCG and the wider local health economy."

Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health for North Yorkshire, added: "We know that lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking and weight loss in obese patients can greatly improve their surgical outcomes and their general health and well-being.

"North Yorkshire County Council has commissioned a range of services that effectively support people to make these life-changing behaviour changes. I support the Harrogate and Rural District CCG in their leadership on this important issue of prevention and will work in partnership to ensure patients can reduce surgical risk and have the best outcomes possible."