A potential £275 million ‘black hole’ in spending on health and social care services in Northamptonshire has been identified by NHS Nene and the county council.
Dr Darin Seiger, who is in charge of the NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group, said the leaders of the county’s health and social care services needed to take decisive action to make sure they remained financially viable.
Dr Seiger said a number of new, more efficient ways to care for people in Northamptonshire had been identified to help save money at a time when demand was higher than ever before.
Dr Seiger said: “If we do nothing then we have projected we could have a financial shortfall of £275 million by 2019.
“What we are doing now is trying to make decisions which help us to maintain the quality of the service we provide.”
The main reasons for the potential funding shortfall are that people are living longer and the population is growing so quickly in the Northamptonshire area.
The programme of change to health and social care services in the county is known as Healthier Northamptonshire and is expected to be introduced by March 2014.
The key parts of the programme include using GP surgeries to help deliver some health care services for conditions, such as skin or eye problems and back pain, so patients do not necessarily have to go into hospital.
There will also be a focus on the frail and elderly to try to develop community services that may reduce the number of people who go into accident and emergency.
A statement, signed by Dr Seiger and Paul Blantern, chief executive of Northamptonshire County Council, stated that integration between GP practices, community and social services will help to care for the county’s most vulnerable patients and provide care closer to home.
The programme involves the county council, Northampton and Kettering general hospitals, Nene and Corby NHS clinical commissioning groups, Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust and the NHS Local Area Team.