Northumberland health chiefs put dent in £57.8million budget deficit

Northumberland’s health commissioners were back in the black last year, but that has not made much of a dent in their hefty overall debt.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 26 June, 2019, 15:26
Health chiefs are fighting to balance the books

NHS Northumberland CCG, which buys the county’s health services, spent £527.4million in 2018-19, resulting in a surplus of £200,000.

During the year, it was trying to find £21.6million of savings to ease the financial pressure and managed to deliver 97 per cent of this, including from areas such as better use and control of medications and reviewing care packages.

However, the £200,000 surplus has only reduced its overall deficit from £57.8million to £57.6million.

Presenting the annual accounts at the CCG’s governing body meeting, chief finance officer Jon Connolly explained that the external auditors concluded that the authority does have adequate arrangements in place in relation to value for money – an improvement from the adverse opinion last year, although the overall deficit remains an issue.

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“It’s all really about improving and developing services,” he said.

“But the financial performance is much more positive than we have seen in this environment in previous years.”

The CCG’s lay chairman, Janet Guy, added that the £57million is not just overspend from the past couple of years, with some of it being historic and inherited by the CCG when they were introduced across the country in 2013.

The summary of the annual report states the CCG is hopeful that a break-even position will be achievable next year.