£7.4 million of NHS funds for ‘reorganisation’ in eastern Devon

Protesters gather in Sidmouth outside public meeting to discuss proposed bed cuts

Protesters gather in Sidmouth outside public meeting to discuss proposed bed cuts - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth campaigners criticise health bosses for ‘shocking’ spending decisions

Health bosses have come under fire for spending £7.4million of NHS funds on ‘reorganisation’ - that campaigners say could have gone towards frontline care.

The Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is identified as one of the most economically challenged in the country with a predicted £384million deficit by 2020/21.

In response to the crisis, the region was chosen to undergo a drastic ‘transformation’ led by the Success Regime, which is proposing to axe 71 community hospital beds as part of a series of cuts.

Campaigners have hit out at plans that would see Sidmouth lose its inpatient beds and said patients should not suffer as a result of badly-managed finances.

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District councillor Cathy Gardner said: “I think it’s shocking that £7.4million can be found for reorganisation but not for frontline care. Many will question how wisely NHS funds are being spent when management consultants and internal managers are using up so much cash.

“Health and social care in Devon has suffered from chronic underfunding. The NHS does need serious reform but not of the kind being undertaken under the guise of improvements.”

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The CCG confirmed that the Success Regime in Devon received £1.4million in 2015/16 and a further £6million in 2016/17 - but stated that the money was specifically set to implement changes and was not taken from the region’s £1.1billion budget for health services.

Campaigner and chairman of the Sid Valley patient participation group Di Fuller said: “The additional costs of managing the Success Regime, to try and put right what CCG management had failed to do, have diverted yet more funding from frontline services in the NHS.

“We must not endorse cuts to try and put this right until CCG can prove that alternative provision will be safe and meets quality standards.”

A CCG spokesman confirmed a total of £3.3million was spent on the Success Regime’s first phases of ‘transformation’ in Devon, Essex and Cumbria, with a further £17million budgeted for 2016/17. He added that the Success Regime’s programme aims to transform the way care is provided with a move towards a ‘home-based’ model of care.

This is expected to save between £4.7million and £7million a year after reinvestment into community services.

The CCG says it is continually looking at how to make the administration of care more efficient and streamlined.

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