Here’s how Norfolk and Waveney NHS chiefs plan to save £300m

Hospital budgets will be hit the hardest in the plans to move patients out of wards and into the com

Hospital budgets will be hit the hardest in the plans to move patients out of wards and into the community. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Health chiefs in Norfolk and Waveney today unveiled how they hope to secure the future of our NHS by making huge savings and transforming the way patients are treated.

Every area of England has been told by NHS England to come up with what's called a 'Sustainability and Transformation Plan' (STP) to reduce deficits by keeping patients out of hospital alongside making cuts.

Between now and 2021 just under £300m of savings have been earmarked. At the same time around £150m of investment will be made.

Today health chiefs in Norfolk and Waveney published their plan. They now want staff and the public to have their say on it.

They say without changes the system will be £416m in the red by 2021.

Dr Wendy Thomson, the managing director of Norfolk County Council who is leading the talks on Norfol

Dr Wendy Thomson, the managing director of Norfolk County Council who is leading the talks on Norfolk and Waveney's new health plan. Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

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Much of the detail about how savings will be made is yet to be decided on as plans are in still in an early stage, but the main points are:

•Overall cuts in every area of the NHS and social care system apart from mental health;

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•One in five patients who currently go to hospital being care for in community instead;

•Cutting a forecast deficit in health and care system from £416m to £50m by 2021;

It is not yet clear how the millions of pounds will be saved from different areas of our health service by 2021.

But the STP is based on people taking more responsibility for their health and providing more care in communities.

Mental health is the only area of the health and care system getting more money overall with a £14m investment and £8.4m of savings in 2020/21.

All other areas will be cut, with the burden of looking after patients who might now be in hospital, falling to community health services and GP surgeries.

NHS chiefs say this is better for patients and will save millions of pounds.

But they will have to achieve this with less money.

Community care and social care will get an investment of £18.8m in 2020/21 but is being cut by £45.5m in that year alone.

Overall, GP surgeries, social care and community care will have to make savings of £56m, the largest amount of any area, while getting an investment of £33m in 2020/21.

It means many years of savings and cuts, as outlined in our table above.

Hospital budgets which are already stretched will be hit the hardest in the plans. They must save £26m while being given £5.3m in 2020/21.

They hope to save £4m by reducing A&E attendances by 20pc.

The prevention service which encourages people to live more healthy lifestyles will be given £4.2m but needs to save £12.7m.

After the changes, which should take place between now and March 2021, the social care system in Norfolk and Waveney will still have a deficit of £50m.

Much of the money, £144m, will be saved by NHS trusts and councils carrying out their own cuts.

Those behind the plan, which include all NHS trusts in Norfolk and Waveney as well as local councils, say if they do not make these radical changes the system will not survive.

Dr Wendy Thomson, chair of the Norfolk and Waveney STP, said: 'Our population is growing, people are generally living longer and the type of care that people need is changing.

'We know that there are ways we can improve how we care for people, and that our current services are not sustainable if they continue as they are now.'

Community nursing service Admiral Nurses, which helped people with dementia stay out of hospital, was cut this year.

But that is exactly the sort of service NHS chiefs will need if the plan is to work.

Some changes have already taken place to transfer care from hospitals to people's homes.

They include:

•In North Norfolk GP practices work with colleagues in community, mental health, social care and the voluntary sector to look after the most vulnerable patients

•Beccles surgery uses 'Doctor First', a telephone appointment system you can call about urgent and non-urgent health problems. If you have an emergency you will get immediate help. All other patients will get a call back from a GP that day;

•In Norwich, a 'Homeward' team of nurses, therapists and support staff have prevented about 130 admissions to hospital since April this year by visiting patients at home;

•In Great Yarmouth and Waveney, similar out of hospital teams provide intensive, short-term care during a crisis in a patient's own home;

•In South Norfolk community health and social care staff work together from a hub at Wymondham Health Centre;

•You can read the document and have your say on the plans here.

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