CCGs face tough challenge despite PCT savings

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) stand to inherit a grim financial legacy from PCTs despite a report showing they are on track for efficiency savings worth £5.8bn in 2011/12, GP leaders have warned.

Dr Nagpaul: ‘Many of the savings are being made through short-term measures and concealing the real demand on local healthcare budgets'
Dr Nagpaul: ‘Many of the savings are being made through short-term measures and concealing the real demand on local healthcare budgets'

PCTs reported savings worth £3.9bn under the quality, improvement, productivity and prevention (QIPP) efficiency scheme by the third quarter of the 2011/12 financial year, a DH financial report shows.

Efficiency savings are set to hit £5.8bn by the end of the financial year, PCTs believe.

The report conflicts with the findings of a GP investigation that found trusts were struggling to hit QIPP targets.

Deputy NHS chief executive David Flory said: ‘The NHS has proven that it can work hard to provide the best care for patients whilst maintaining or improving quality. The results from the third quarter of 2011/12 are encouraging, and show the NHS continues to deliver the best care for patients while maintaining a healthy financial position.

‘The NHS is on track to deliver its estimated efficiency savings for this financial year.’

The quarterly report highlights ‘examples where transformational programmes have begun implementation with positive progress, both in terms of improved quality to the patient and provision of care at a lower cost’.

It says waiting times and patient satisfaction performance has been maintained.

But GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul warned that the financial performance data should be treated with caution.

‘Many of the savings are being made through short-term measures and concealing the real demand on local healthcare budgets. We need to be careful, to interpret this with caution.

‘We are concerned CCGs should not inherit concealed expenditure. Short-term reductions in costs can be counter productive and result in increased costs in the future – it can be a false economy to make drastic cuts.’

He said it remained to be seen how QIPP had affected patient care and called for greater efforts to measure how well the ‘quality’ element of the programme had been delivered.

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