Cash-strapped Peterborough and Cambridgeshire NHS body which cut IVF treatment 'breaks even' after NHS England support

Dr Gary Howsam and Jan Thomas at the CCG annual meeting
Dr Gary Howsam and Jan Thomas at the CCG annual meeting
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The health body which allocates NHS spending in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire believes it may be able to break even after tackling a £192 million deficit.

Following a challenging financial year, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) chairman Dr Gary Howsam was delighted to announce positive signs at their Annual General Meeting on Tuesday.

Speaking to a gathering of NHS officials, councillors and members of the public, Dr Howsam said: “I don’t think anybody at the CCG would deny that 2018/19 was a difficult and challenging year for us.

“We’ve had to cope with enforced cut-backs affecting our partnerships with some service providers in order to reduce our £192 million deficit.

“Regrettably, that has led to the termination of funding for some services, and the continued withdrawal of money for others such as the first round IVF programme.

“But, as a result, we have now negotiated with NHS England a position where they would effectively wipe-off part of that debt.

“At the end of 2018/19 we can report – for the first time ever – a ‘break-even’ position, which I think is a really big achievement.

“Tonight’s AGM has reflected on the financial year that has just finished, one in which we have faced enormous challenges surrounding our work force, work load and, obviously, the financial constraints on the CCG.

“And the clear message for the CCG looking forward to 2019/20 is that we must get back to a financial balance as soon as possible.

“Only then we can look at re-negotiating our spending with our service provider partners, and yes, see if some of that withdrawn funding can be re-allocated.

“I feel very positive about the coming year, and I do want to celebrate some our successes, especially the relationship with our 300 staff within the CCG on redesigning patient pathways.

“This means developing closer relationships with those people within our system who actually provide healthcare to our patients, such as my GP colleagues, the community services and the hospital services.

“We’re talking a lot less about transactional relationship now. We’re talking less about organisations and contracts and much more about people and pathways.

“Most important of all, we are now talking much more positively about the outcomes for our patients; after all, that’s the thing that really drives us forward in determining what we do as the commissioners of NHS healthcare services.”