CCG assurance despite shortfall

Northumberland’s budget for GPs and other primary healthcare services could be short by almost £600,000 this year.

Friday, 31st May 2019, 8:41 pm
Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.

However, health bosses gave assurances that any shortfall would not present any risk to services.

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is responsible for commissioning the county’s healthcare and the body’s primary care committee discussed its financial position at its meeting last week.

For the current financial year, Northumberland’s delegated allocation for primary care (patients’ first point of contact such as GPs and pharmacies) is £46.1million – an increase of around two-and-a-half per cent.

However, despite this rise on last year’s budget, the CCG is predicting that it may have a £575,000 shortfall in 2019-20.

A report explains that several factors, including national changes to the GP contract and £1.5million being allocated for the new primary care networks, ‘result in a potential pressure of £575,000 against the delegated allocation for 2019-20 and the CCG needs further work to be done in order to manage this pressure this year and recurrently beyond 2019-20’.

Presenting the report, Neil Lightley, a finance manager at NHS England, said: “It’s a big figure, it’s a significant figure, but my assumption is that it will come down in year.”

Another key impact was the sizeable sum that was ‘top-sliced’ by the NHS nationally to fund the new GP indemnity scheme and which represented a reduction of £1.4million from Northumberland’s original delegated allocation.

David Thompson, chairman of Healthwatch Northumberland, which is the independent champion for patients, asked what this could mean in terms of service provision.

Jon Connolly, the CCG’s chief finance officer, said: “It won’t present any risk to services.”

The CCG has a budget but also obligations, he added, and ‘we will meet those obligations’.

The meeting also heard that the CCG’s final budget position for the 2018-19 financial year was an underspend of £68,000.