Health chiefs cut £8.5m ‘without any warning’

Councillor Colette Wyatt-Lowe
Councillor Colette Wyatt-Lowe

A key health service is set to be cut in West Herts, which could have a “catastrophic” effect upon the county’s entire health economy.

Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which oversees healthcare across the county, is set to end its £8.5million funding of measures to stop bed-blocking in hospital from April.

But it is claimed that this could bring parts of hospital care to a “standstill”, while imperilling a number of key health reviews such as Your Care, Your Future and the Service Transformation Plan (STP).

Councillor Chris White, Lib Dem spokesman for health at Herts County Council, said: “This is a shocking decision. No warning was given.

“It seems that NHS England has decided to punish the CCG for non-delivery of their NHS efficiency savings and 
because of additional demand at Watford General Hospital.

“The CCG has been told that it is in official ‘financial turnaround’ and it has accordingly decided to cease providing this £8.5million to the county council.”

The £8.5million is given to the council to provide home care and intermediate beds, as well as preventative measures.

Councillor Colette Wyatt-Lowe, cabinet member for adult care and health at Herts County Council, warned that the changes would hit “a 
system that works”, describing the potential affect as 
“catastrophic”.

She added: “I feel sorry for the CCG. I believe this decision came from NHS England, but it imperils Your Care Your Future, and it could prevent the implementation of the STP.”

Dr Nicolas Small, chairman of Herts Valleys CCG, said: “As we have announced recently, the CCG is now forecasting an overspend on our budgets due to a financial 
position that has deteriorated.

“This means that we are not now able to commit to repeating this payment for the next financial year and we spoke to our colleagues at Herts County Council to let them know about this as soon as we took this decision.

“We don’t take this step lightly and support their case for more funding going into social care directly”.”