Our Savings Plan

An open letter to the people of West Cheshire by Dr Huw Charles-Jones and Alison Lee, the Chair and Chief Executive Officer of NHS West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

Today, NHS West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group has published “Our Savings Plan” for 2016-17.

This is the start of a frank conversation about the challenging financial position facing the local NHS and the savings we must make in 2016/17 to help ensure a sustainable, high-quality health and care system in West Cheshire – both now and in the future.

There are many reasons for the financial challenges we face, not least that we have a fast-growing, ageing population and more people than ever are being diagnosed with long-term conditions. This means that demand for local health and care services is rising faster than our budget.

As leaders of NHS West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group we have a responsibility to be open and transparent about the decisions we take and it would be irresponsible to claim that we can move forward with a “business as usual” approach.

We simply do not have enough money to continue to buy all the services we currently do in the same way as before. If we did, in 2016/17 alone we would spend £13m more than our budget.

Inevitably, this means changing some aspects of the way we work – while retaining a patient-focused approach every step of the way. Some savings will be delivered by new services, some by changes to existing services and some by spending less on services that do not demonstrate value for money.

“Our Savings Plan” describes how we propose to make the required savings and provides the focus for our ongoing engagement with the people of West Cheshire throughout 2016/17. We want to hear your views to help us shape the changes that need to take place.

The savings we need to make would be even greater if it wasn’t for the positive work we’re already doing with local NHS partners and Cheshire West and Chester Council to develop a more joined-up healthcare system that is safe, affordable and, most importantly, meets the needs of the people of West Cheshire. We call this the West Cheshire Way.

We certainly have plenty to be proud of in West Cheshire. The diagnosis of cancer at an early stage, cancer survival rates and cancer patient experience is well above average. In addition, more people with long-term conditions tell us they feel well supported to manage their health.

In the last 12 months we have also improved local people’s access to GPs at evenings and weekends, launched the West Cheshire Way “mile a day” challenge – which encourages primary school children to walk or run a mile every day – and been confirmed as one of the first areas in the country to roll out the “Healthier You” diabetes prevention programme.

We want to finish by thanking you, the people of West Cheshire, for continuing to make responsible decisions about your health and wellbeing and keeping self-care a top priority.

By working together, we know that we can continue to deliver the West Cheshire Way and protect our essential services into the future.

Please download Our Savings Plan 2016/17.