Hartlepool health chief blames NHS financial plight after rating falls from 'outstanding' to 'good'

A Hartlepool health chief has blamed the financial plight of the NHS after his group’s rating fell from ‘outstanding’ to ‘good’.

Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 4:44 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 7:27 pm
Stock picture from Pixabay

Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has also promised to improve on underperforming areas such as cancer screening and ambulance response times.

The promises came as Hartlepool Health and Wellbeing Board received an update as part of the CCG’s annual performance report for 2018/19.

The CCG, which is responsible for the planning and commissioning of health care services, received a “good” rating from NHS England.

Michael Houghton, director of commissioning, strategy and delivery at the Hartlepool and Stockton CCG, said the body would strive to continue to improve in areas where needed.

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He said: “In the previous year we were given a rating of outstanding.

“The reason for the change in that rating is to do with the financial climate currently in the system within the NHS.

“From a financial perspective we have maintained our financial position during that year, we have met all of our financial duties and financial targets but as the committee will be aware we are facing financial pressure in this sector.

“In terms of performance in meeting constitutional standards we’ve performed relatively well, we do have a number of challenges, one is obviously cancer waiting times.

“We do still miss the 62-day target for treatment for cancer waiting times and we do have plans in place working with partners to address that.

He added: “In terms of ambulance response times, we are meeting the most urgent category, which is category one, but we are not consistently meeting two to four which are the least urgent categories of ambulance response times.

“We do have a really good A and E performance in the borough which is really good.”

Mr Houghton also noted several developments the CCG has taken over the past to improve care.

These include procuring extended GP hours in the area, improving access to initiatives such as talking therapies and adding more support for children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND).

He added looking forward to the year ahead they will aim to continue meeting constitutional standards and work closely with primary care networks across the area.

CCG bosses also said they will be looking to develop personal health budgets to ensure people get dedicated care they need.

Coun Stephen Thomas said: “I’m very pleased to hear that there appears to be a commitment to developing personal health budgets, as I think that social prescribing has a lot of value and is still very much in its early stages in many respects.”