Health funding ends in surplus

Ian Wilson
Ian Wilson

The group that spends NHS money on behalf of patients has avoided ending the year with a £6-£11 million projected deficit.

Instead the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group – made up of GP representatives and managers – reports a £0.3m surplus.

Acting chief executive Ian Wilson said the surplus had been achieved through a number of means.

“The first is a renegotiated contract settlement with Oxford University Hospitals Trust, but it is commercially sensitive so I can’t say what it is,” said Mr Wilson.

He said the two parties had agreed a ‘sensible’ risk share that incentivises the trust to move more services back into the community, saving money.

A change in the way maternity services are funded, with payments being staged rather than being paid upfront, has given £2m to offset the possible deficit.

OCCG has been reimbursed £1.2m by Thames Valley Area Team for cervical cancer screening and a national underspend in IT budgets has produced a further £1.2m.

Mr Wilson said OCCG was struggling with rising demand, an increase in the range of treatments available and the cost of providing healthcare for an ageing population.

A major aspect of budgeting has been trying to change the way care is given, offering ‘safe, competent, clinical care to the patient in the community if possible, to avoid costly admissions to acute hospitals’.

“If we support residential and nursing homes better we can avoid acute hospital episodes,” he said.

“In the past 25 years up and down the country care at home has been replacing care in hospitals.”