CCGs plan investment in services close to home to cut costs

Three quarters of CCG chief finance officers plan to invest in community health services to tackle rising NHS cost pressures, a poll reveals.

Funding: CCGs to invest in community-based services to cut costs (Photo: JH Lancy)

More than a third of financial chiefs (39%) thought their organisation's year-end financial position would be worse than last year's, the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) poll found.

The poll - the HFMA's second 'NHS financial temperature check' found that a similar proportion of these senior executives felt their organisation would be in worse shape financially at the end of 2014/15 than they had predicted in April.

The HFMA panel, which included 64 CCG finance leads (30% of respondents), identified continuing health costs and emergency care costs as the biggest pressure on costs. While 75% of CCG finance leads said they were turning to community services to cut costs, 87% of hospital trust finance directors were looking to make urgent agency staff cost savings.

NHS to maintain quality

Across all NHS bodies, 94% of finance chiefs expected the quality of NHS services to hold up next year despite the financial pressures.

The HFMA made four demands on government to ensure that the NHS remained clinically, financially and operationally sustainable. It called for more funding to help transform the NHS, urgent action to improve national workforce planning and training, a payment system that can support new models of care, and faster progress on large transformation systems.

The HFMA snapshot also revealed that CCG finance directors were confident that the Better Care Fund will improve services to patients over time. Although only 13 per cent expected a better service in the Fund’s first year, 86 per cent thought the service would be improved after three years. And 69 per cent of CCG financial officers reported that they had other plans for integrating services in addition to the Better Care Fund plans.

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