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Health chiefs calling for ‘share of £20bn NHS birthday funding’ to fill £14m cash deficit

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Health bosses are calling on the Government to give the town a share of the £20bn NHS birthday fund’ in an effort to close a £14million budget deficit this year.

Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which arranges and pays for local NHS services, hopes to benefit from some of the £20billion extra NHS funding recently announced by the Prime Minister Theresa May last week.

Ali Wilson (Hartlepool and Stockton NHS Clinical Commissioning Group)

Ali Wilson (Hartlepool and Stockton NHS Clinical Commissioning Group)

Councillors on the Hartlepool Health and Wellbeing Board told the CCG they do not want to see people who receive free services for long-term conditions to be affected by the need to make savings to fill the deficit.

The CCG is in financial recovery status and has come up with an action plan of efficiencies to help balance its books, as previously reported by the Mail.

Members of the CCG provided an update on the financial situation to the Health and Wellbeing Board.

Graham Niven, chief financial officer for the CCG, said: “Last year we were thinking we probably weren’t going to hit our financial control targets so NHS England placed us under financial recovery where we had to come up with a financial recovery plan to balance the books, and therefore had to make some tough decisions last year.

Prime Minister Theresa May.

Prime Minister Theresa May.

“We are still in that financial recovery regime for 2018-19.”

Mr Niven said the CCG receives around £4.5m a year less funding than it’s fair share from its overall budget of around £460m a year.

He added: “We have lobbied and we will certainly lobby as we look forward and the NHS’s birthday present to say some of that resource needs to play into Hartlepool and Stockton CCG.”

Councillor Brenda Harrison said: “It seems to me a town like Hartlepool which has a lot of health problems shouldn’t be in that kind of situation where we are getting less than average.”

Coun Stephen Thomas said the council as a whole and MP Mike Hill should be involved in lobbying the Government for more funding.

He said: “It’s an issue which affects everybody in this town.”

Coun Thomas stressed continuing healthcare, a free package of care for people who have significant ongoing healthcare needs, should not be affected by the savings.

He said: “I would be very unhappy to see any sort of approach which further rations provisions of continuing healthcare.”

Mr Niven said it was a ‘significant pressure’ due to rising demand.

He said if people need continuing healthcare they will receive it, but added savings could be made by using existing services rather than creating new care packages.

CCG chief officer Ali Wilson said it was working with partners to bid collectively for extra funding.

She added savings were also looking at how to be more cost effective which could also give better results to patients.