There are fears a cut of £40million from the budget of the Trust which runs Eastbourne DGH, will have a knock-on effect to acute services.
A former non-executive director of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which is in charge of both the DGH and the Conquest in Hastings, is concerned the withdrawal of funds from two of the county’s CCGs will further hamper an already cash-strapped organisation. Robert Smart’s worries stem from the fact the Trust is already in special financial measure and is struggling to maintain its current deficit. His feelings are echoed by Liz Walke from the Save the DGH campaign.
Whilst they both welcome extra funding for community care to help prevent us from needing hospital treatment, they’re unsure as to how cuts will be implemented.
Jonathan Reid Director of Finance at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said, “East Sussex Better Together (ESBT) represents an opportunity to transform health and social care in East Sussex for local people. We are fully engaged in this process and are working closely with our partners to achieve a fully integrated health and social care service. We have agreed an overarching financial plan for health and social care in East Sussex for the next five years, and we are working with operational and clinical leaders to implement this plan. The scale of challenge for next year is significant and we are working together along with our regulators to fully understand this and mitigate against any risks.”
In a statement to Eastbourne Buzz, Amanda Philpott, Chief Officer, NHS Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG, and NHS Hastings and Rother CCG said, “Our two district general hospitals in Eastbourne and Hastings, run by East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT), do an amazing, invaluable job and our Clinical Commissioning Groups (Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG and Hastings and Rother CCG) are fully committed to supporting and retaining both sites as part of our move towards a fully integrated health and care system for East Sussex.
“In August 2014, after many years of pressure on services locally, we launched our East Sussex Better Together (ESBT) programme to galvanise the transformation of health and social care services. ESBT is a partnership between our two CCGs and East Sussex County Council (ESCC), ESHT and the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SPFT), and our widely publicised aim is to integrate our whole system – primary prevention, primary and community care, social care, mental health, acute and specialist care – to make sure we use our combined £850m annual budget to achieve the best possible services for local people.
“Health and social care services are under extreme pressure – not just in East Sussex but right across the country. With an increasing and ageing population, and pockets of health inequality and deprivation in our CCG areas, we know we have to invest in care delivered earlier and closer to home, which will underpin significant improvements in the experience of care for patients, improve the quality of services and health and wellbeing of our population, and it will help to keep services affordable for years to come. One of the things we will be doing is working even more closely with GPs to support improvement and innovation around their practices in local communities, and our work is already having positive results.
“By working really closely with the public we serve, patients, carers, service users, staff and local politicians, we’re ensuring our focus is on spending wisely rather than cutting badly. Two particular successes so far are:
“Our investment in primary prevention and community-based services is designed to improve services for local people, in terms of the quality of care they receive and the outcomes of that care. As more treatment, care and support is delivered in the community, this means that we can alleviate pressure on our hospitals and free them up to concentrate on providing the hospital-based services which they are best placed to do, i.e. the right care, in the right place, at the right time. This does mean we intend to spend a smaller proportion of our funding in acute services, however this is in the best interests of the population we serve (by providing more care earlier to help people stay out of hospital), and all ESBT partners will work together to ensure we maintain safe, high quality and appropriate services.
“Alongside our GPs, pharmacists, dentists, optometrists, therapists, social care professionals, independent care providers and the voluntary sector, ESHT is a major provider of services and a full and valued partner in our shared ESBT programme. In helping to design the future integrated health and care model for East Sussex, ESHT continues to play a crucial role in shaping and driving lasting and positive changes to the health and care system through the ESBT programme.
“Our contract with ESHT is currently being finalised and will be signed by Friday 23 December.”
Both Robert Smart and Liz Walk have been sharing their views with Eastbourne Buzz: