After four years of delivering the required financial surpluses in both Hastings & Rother CCG (HR CCG) and Eastbourne, Hailsham & Seaford CCG (EHS CCG), we find ourselves in a challenging financial position, ending 2017/18 with a combined financial deficit of £37m. Our CCGs spend around £612m per annum. In addition, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT) also ended 2017/18 with a deficit of £57m.
As a consequence, and as we have expected for a while, NHS England have today published legal directions for both CCGs. This means that we will get additional support to further develop and implement our financial recovery plan to address the CCGs’ financial deficits while contributing to achieving financial balance across our local health and care system as a whole.
As local people will know, we have made significant in-roads, with our ESBT partners, into addressing inequalities and improving access, quality and safety for local people. Our system has recently been recognised by NHS Improvement for its consistent performance over the last winter period despite the significant pressure of demand at the front door of our local hospitals – we were in the top 25% of systems across the country for A&E performance; ESHT is no longer in special measures for quality; and our marked progress in reducing Delayed Transfers of Care, currently at 2% - well below the national target of 3.5%, is reflected in our very positive CQC Local Area review.
However, this has not translated quickly enough into reducing either the level of activity or the unit cost, and now we must redouble our efforts to demonstrate we are making these improvements in services for the people of East Sussex in a way that makes the very best use of available resources.
In a joint statement, Dr David Warden, Chair of HR CCG ; Dr Martin Writer, Chair of EHS CCG; and Amanda Philpott, Chief Officer of EHS and HR CCGs said: “It is no secret that the whole of the NHS is under significant financial challenge, and we in East Sussex are no different. Our staff and ESBT partners have worked incredibly hard to make significant quality and safety improvements for local people. Now we need to pay the same rigorous attention to detail to managing the money, and we welcome the additional support directions will give us to achieve this.”