West Norfolk CCG insists it is improving

The CCG has pledged better financial management and better care for patients Picture: Archant

The CCG has pledged better financial management and better care for patients Picture: Archant - Credit: Evening News © 2009

The body which commissions health care in West Norfolk said it was working on improving after an unprecedented winter saw the healthcare system go into melt down.

The West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group held its annual general meeting at King's Lynn Town Hall today.

Its chair Dr Paul Williams said: 'The last 12 months have been very difficult for the CCG and the NHS in general.'

The group, which has a budget of £274m, ended its 2016/17 financial year £9.7m in the red.

The AGM heard the CCG had failed to meet its statutory financial duty of breaking even.

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Howard Martin, its chief financial officer, said costs had been underestimated in previous years. But plans are in place to bring the CCG's finances back on track.

'If England can win on penalties, surely we can deliver on this financial plan,' said Mr Martin.

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The CCG, which is made up of 21 GP practices, spends half its budget on acute hospital services - mostly at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn.

John Webster, its accountable officer, said there had been 'an absence of robust contract management'.

Mr Webster said the group needed to improve the way it managed its 54 staff as well as its finances.

'We have let them down as an organisation,' he said. 'There's been poor communication, there has been an absence of objective setting, appraisals and personal development.'

Mr Webster said there had been improvements in financial planning and controls since the start of the new financial year.

'We're not out off the woods by any means but things are starting to stabilise,' he added.

Mr Webster said the CCG's priorities included promoting 'proactive care at home in the community, not reactive care in hospital', along with better use of technology and breaking down the barriers between different organisations.

The group is now run by a completely different management team. It is in talks with the other four CCGs in Norfolk and Waveney about an 'integrated care system', under which the groups would be run by a single management team and eventually merge.

No firm decisions have been taken.

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