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Have your say on how the NHS spends its money
23 March 2017

GPs in Redbridge are asking patients and residents to get involved with helping them decide how to spend NHS money wisely.

Redbridge CCG has today launched Spending NHS Money Wisely – an eight week period of engagement asking the public for their views on proposals to protect essential local NHS services by stopping funding purely cosmetic procedures (such as tummy tucks and boob jobs), no longer prescribing some ‘over the counter’ medicines and gluten-free products, and reducing the number of IVF cycles funded.

Dr Anita Bhatia, clinical director of Redbridge CCG, said: “The care and treatment that we, along with our GP colleagues, provide every day for our patients is funded by taxpayers’ money – your money.

“That’s why we have a duty to spend it wisely, to make sure we get the best value we possibly can for every penny – especially when NHS funding is being severely squeezed and we are seeing more patients with more complex health issues than ever before.

“That’s why we are faced with some very difficult choices if we are to protect our most essential health services – things like cancer care, emergency care, life threatening conditions and mental health services – for the coming years.”

CCGs in Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge are working together to look at spending the money we have wisely. We are looking at:

  • In-vitro fertilisation (IVF)
  • Male and female sterilisation
  • NHS prescribing – including gluten-free food prescriptions, over the counter prescribing, soya-based formula milk and travel vaccinations
  • Cosmetic procedures
  • Weight loss surgery.

Dr Sarah Heyes, clinical director of Redbridge CCG, added: “To protect essential services in our area we have to make savings locally of £55 million, and to do that we must look at reducing spending now. We haven’t made any decisions yet and we won’t until we have heard from you, our patients. Unfortunately, doing nothing is not an option.

“We are family doctors, not politicians, but it’s up to us – with your help – to get the local NHS onto a secure and sustainable footing to ensure that we can maintain those vital local services for you and your families, both now and in the future.”

The CCG has published a document that lists all the proposed changes, and a questionnaire for people to give their opinion. You can complete the whole questionnaire if you wish, or just choose the parts you have an opinion on. 

The survey is available here and all responses must be received by 5pm, 18 May 2017.

 

Notes:

  • The NHS has a responsibility to patients and taxpayers to balance the books. Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge (BHR) CCGs need to save a total of £55 million between them in the 2017/18 financial year, and they plan to achieve this through a combination of efficiencies and reducing spending.
  • Spending NHS Money Wisely focuses on reducing spend on “non-essential” procedures and prescribing, to save an estimated £5 million per year. It is just one part of a wide-ranging savings programme.
  • OtherthingstheCCGs are doing to save money are:
    • Looking at patient pathways (the route people take from their first contact with the NHS, to the end of their treatment) to make sure these are as streamlined and simple as they can be, with no unnecessary steps
    • Managing contracts with service providers to ensure there is no waste and the NHS is paying the right amount
    • Making better use of technology, for example web-based “e-clinics” and online appointment booking
    • Working closely with hospital doctors and GPs to make sure the NHS is not funding procedures it shouldn’t be – such as unnecessary tonsillectomies for children.
INTRODUCTION