What do you want us to stop doing?

Sorry not to have blogged for sometime – bit of writers block!

This week has been one of the busy weeks in ‘CCG Land’ for me with Public Patient Advisory Group (PPAG), CCG Board (private meeting) and Audit Committee on successive days. Also there is reading to do with NHS England launching their five year view.

The common thread of discussion of all of the above is the simple lack of money for the NHS in current Government plans. This is going to be a challenge for South Manchester CCG and all our partners as we face something of a perfect storm: Hospitals struggling, social care facing massive cuts from next year and an increase in demand for services across the whole system.

The mantra of ‘more for less’ can only get us so far, and efficiencies and innovation can help tackle parts of the problem: but looking forward they are not going to provide the savings the whole system needs to balance: anyone telling you otherwise is ‘fibbing’.

The reality for the CCG is if we are going to make our budgets balance in an honest way, we are going to have to stop doing some of the things we are doing now – and that will impact on our local providers, from the hospital to the voluntary and community sector and everything in-between – and on patients.
I suppose we could stop doing some things, do some things slower and/or raise the bar on when certain services kick in – I believe the scale of the challenge is likely to mean it is a combination of all these things.

I have written about this before and I suspect it will continue to be the dominant theme for some time as I think we are going to have to have a big discussion with the public, patients, providers and politicians about how we move forward.

Our challenge is to make the debate an informed one: we can’t have a scenario where those with the loudest voices get what they want: we need to understand the impact of what any changes mean – there is no point finding savings that simply push the cost elsewhere in the system or just a few yards down the road.

I would welcome any contribution to the debate – but as you think about it, just try and think: what do you want us to stop doing?

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