Major review ordered into future of health and social care services in West Norfolk

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn - Credit: IAN BURT

A major review into the future of health and social care services in west Norfolk has begun after warnings were made that the current system was not workable.

The head of the GP-led group in charge of NHS purse strings in west Norfolk has warned that the area faces a £50m funding gap by 2021.

Sue Crossman, chief officer of the West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), told members of the Norfolk Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee today that a six month review had begun with all health and social care partners to design a blueprint for the way services are delivered in the future.

Dr Crossman said the first recommendations from the system wide review were likely to be made in the summer and the CCG had received £200,000 from NHS England to support the work.

Local patients and groups such as the Older People's Forum and Healthwatch will be involved in the review, which will look to integrate health and social care services to meet the challenges of financial pressures and rising demand for healthcare.

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'We know the way it is delivered can not be sustained and it is not affordable and we have to look at doing things differently. Patients find problems with the way services are delivered and it is not really working. They frequently find that services are uncoordinated and fragmented,' she said.

The review comes after the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn was placed into special measures last year over financial concerns and after a damning report on the standard of care at the hospital.

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Dr Crossman said nursing levels had been brought up to the right standard under a new leadership team at the QEH and the financial situation at the hospital was still being investigated.

'We are keeping a very close eye on staff recruitment and there is no way the hospital will be allowed to slip back to the recruitment situation they had previously,' she told councillors.

The review was also backed at an extraordinary meeting of the West Norfolk CCG today.

Ian Mack, chairman of the CCG, said: 'We want us to have the ownership of issues in West Norfolk. We don't want a situation where Monitor has to put the Queen Elizabeth Hospital into administration which would limit what we can do.'

'The biggest challenge is to make sure we have a very well crafted plan, it is so important to get that right. It is a positive step but we go in with our eyes open about the challenges.'

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