Dr David Crichton’s blog: Big budget but challenges still ahead

DSC_1036Running a business like the clinical commissioning group isn’t just about getting the best health outcomes for Doncaster patients,  it’s also about managing telephone number sized budgets and being able to balance the books at year end

Recently, we signed off our budget for the 12 months to the end of March 2017, and it’s nearly half a BILLION pounds.

Some £496.3 million to be exact – a staggering amount of money by any standard.

We act as the local ‘treasurer’ for the NHS, using this money to organise and pay for health services for over 300,000 patients who are registered with a GP based in Doncaster borough. In simple terms it equates to more than £1,600 for every patient.

It’s a lot of money, but it’s still going to be tough going for the NHS to do everything it wants to do in Doncaster before the year’s out.

This is more money than we were given last year, but since 1 April, 2016 we have been given responsibility for managing and funding the health services provided by Doncaster’s GP surgeries which, until recently, was NHS England’s role.

So this year we have much more to do with Doncaster’s NHS budget.

A big chunk will be spent on hospital type services, such as hip replacements and other surgery.

Other big areas of spending include community services, such as district nursing, mental health and learning disability services.

In addition we will spend around £62 million on the prescription medicines that you collect from your local pharmacy.

Nationally, the Government has set the NHS a target of making £22 billion in savings by 2020/21. It was originally planned to be £30 billion, but reduced in line with a commitment to increase NHS funding by £8 billion within the same timeframe.

Here in Doncaster we also have to make our contribution to the national savings pot, as does every other area in the country.

What this means is that we can’t simply continue doing things as we have done in the past, as there simply isn’t enough money to go round. We have to develop new ways of providing health services and in different settings.

As we start to make changes, more funding will be moved from hospitals and spent instead in local communities on services designed to help people stay well at home, preventing them from getting ill. This includes more health workers based closer to where you live to, for example, monitor and maintain the care of people with long term health problems so their condition doesn’t deteriorate further and result in an emergency admission to hospital.

The NHS faces unprecedented financial pressures in the coming years. Our challenge in Doncaster is to remain one step ahead by developing new ways of providing high quality local health services with the money we have available.


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