Local NHS Spending 'Lets Talk' Online consultation

We are planning to launch a public engagement exercise to seek the views of local people on future spending plans. 

Our board have now agreed a set of proposals upon which to consult local people and we now have a firm date for the start of our consultation: Monday 3 July. We are running this programme alongside East and North Hertfordshire CCG (ENHCCG). It is called ’NHS let’s talk’.

As a reminder: in recent months we have been exploring options for reducing our spending in response to growing financial pressures. There is a gap between the money coming in to pay for health and social care and what we need to spend in order to meet the needs of a growing, ageing population with more complex needs. This means that Herts Valleys CCG must make savings of around £45m in the coming year.

Across the wider area covered by the STP (sustainability and transformation partnership) the financial shortfall, if we don’t take any action, is estimated at £550m over the coming four years.

To tackle these challenges, we have been developing proposals to reduce spending overall.  Wherever we can, we are trying to make changes in ways which won’t affect services. For example, we are:  cutting administration costs; closely analysing all our lines of expenditure comparing our costs to those that other CCGs incur for similar things; and working with organisations that directly provide services to deliver best value for money.

These measures won’t cover the whole deficit and so we need to look at what we spend on some services. Our focus will be on protecting funding for those services which have the biggest impact on the health of our population.

Our proposals have been informed by a survey, carried out earlier this year, to ask residents what they thought our spending priorities should be.  This showed that people think it’s important to prioritise treatments that deliver lasting health benefits and improve patients’ quality of life and to make the best use of local NHS resources.

In line with this feedback and following detailed discussions with our lead GPs, we are considering changing access to some services, reviewing criteria for some treatments and doing what we can to help people to lead healthier lifestyles and take better care of themselves and families so that they rely less on the NHS. Doctors, who make up the majority of people on the CCG board, have been heavily involved in developing the proposals. This will help to ensure that good clinical practice is paramount in our considerations.

Our consultation – being undertaken in partnership with ENHCCG - is about:

·         Tightening up existing rules so that people who smoke or whose weight is classified as ‘obese’ are required to make bigger improvements to their health before non-urgent surgery – unless a longer wait for surgery would be harmful

·         Stopping the availability of NHS- funded IVF (in vitro fertilisation) and specialist fertility services, unless in exceptional circumstances

·         Limiting the routine prescription of food supplements, as well as medicines and products that can be bought without prescription for short-term conditions and minor ailments

·         Restricting the prescribing of gluten-free foods

·         Stoppingroutinefunding of female sterilisation procedures

·         Stopping routine funding of vasectomies (this proposal would only affect patients registered with a GP in the Herts Valleys CCG area)

We will be working with Healthwatch, patient groups, local community organisations and special interest groups to encourage as many people as possible to contribute their views.  We are holding public events and drop-in sessions, attending community meetings and running an extensive social media campaign. The easiest way to find out more and give us your views is by completing the online questionnaires at www.healthierfuture.org.uk/nhsletstalk.

The feedback we get will help inform our decision-making about these proposals.

We look forward to your joining us in this important local debate.

With kind regards,

Dr Nicolas Small, Chair of Herts Valleys CCG

Kathryn Magson, Chief Executive Officer, Herts Valleys CCG