Norfolk and Waveney could have one combined health and social care budget under new system
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Money could be shifted between health and social care organisations in Norfolk and Waveney under a new structure which aims to integrate different groups more effectively.
The region's healthcare system recently submitted a bid to NHS leaders to become an integrated care system (ICS), a new way of working which hopes to break down the silos between providers, commissioner, charities and local authorities.
Previously organisations came together as the sustainability and transformation partnership (STP), which aimed to save hundreds of millions of pounds.
But the change to an ICS could mean the £2.6bn budget for all of health and social care in Norfolk could move more flexibly.
MORE: Integrated care - The next step in Norfolk and Waveney's NHS overhaulAnd it could potentially see money moving for organisations in a surplus to those in deficit.
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In Dorset, where an ICS is already in place, the county's health leaders work to a single control total - or budgetary ceiling.
And it means if necessary money is shuffled between organisations to make sure each hit the financial targets set by regulators.
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In Norfolk, there was concern over the arrangement at Norfolk County Council.
Documents outlining the ICS bid said: 'A key consideration of [Norfolk County Council] will remain to ensure that the financial liabilities of the NHS do not pass to the local authority under these arrangements.'
Asked whether Norfolk and Waveney would follow Dorset's example Patricia Hewitt, who heads up the STP said: 'We're going to look at models around the country, Dorset is one, there are several others and they're finding much better, much more efficient ways, of moving the money around the system without the - frankly - burden of administrative costs that have built up not just in Norfolk and Waveney but other parts of the country as well.'
A number of players in the region's healthcare system finished the last financial year in deficit.
In the case of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, it meant the chief executive Mark Davies asked for help meeting the private finance initiative payments which were causing financial woes.
Who is in the red and who is in the black?
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital finished 2017/18 with a £27.3m, even though at the beginning of the financial year they had set a target of a £3.6m surplus.
The James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, predicted a deficit of £8.3m. While the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn predicted a deficit between £19.9m and £21.9m.
Latest figures showed the region's mental health trust, Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, was expected to finish the financial year with a £800,000 deficit.
Norfolk Community Health and Care expected a 2017/18 deficit of between £1.7m and £2m.
On the commissioner side, Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) predicted they would end the year in a £4.8m surplus.
North Norfolk CCG expected to finish the year with a £2.1m surplus, in South Norfolk the figure was a £5.3m surplus.
In Great Yarmouth and Waveney a £.4m surplus was expected.
But in West Norfolk commissioners faced a £10m deficit.