NHS bosses outline £300m budget savings

NHS chiefs in south Essex have outlined how they intend to make savings of about £300m over the next four years.

Efficiency savings have been agreed by two primary care trusts as well as hospitals and GPs covering Thurrock, Southend, Basildon and Castle Point.

Plans include treating more patients away from hospitals, allowing fewer referrals and cutting management costs.

Chiefs said job cuts in front line services would be minimal and come through “natural turnover”.

Hospital admissions would also be cut, community services strengthened and more people treated at home.

The plans are in response to the NHS national target to make efficiency savings of £20bn, by 2015.

The length of time people spent in hospital would be shortened and procedures that were of “low clinical value” limited, bosses have said.

Mental health, children’s and maternity services will also be required to change practices in order to reduce expenditure.

The South East Essex and South West Essex primary care trusts, who commission healthcare in the south of the county, said it had identified about £154m in efficiency savings between them.

That equates to about 14% of savings from its budgets over the four year period.

It is hoped the rest of the savings outlined in the Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) document would come as a result of the decrease in demand for services.

Andrew Pike, chief executive of both PCTs, said: “Over a four year period we have the time to plan to see how we can reorganise our services in a way to minimise waste and treat patients effectively so that we can do it in a way that the services aren’t cut.”

Mr Pike added there had already been about 300 job losses within the two PCTs in the past year and said fewer agency staff would be used as part of money-saving plans.

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