Stoke & Staffordshire

Health services in Staffordshire face £217m deficit, says report

New signs
Image caption The report is one of 11 commissioned last year by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt into "distressed local health economies" across England

Health services in Staffordshire are on course for a deficit of more than £217m by 2019, according to a leaked report.

The service is also in "perpetual crisis mode", according to the report produced by accountants KPMG.

It has been leaked by Paul Farrelly, MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme, who felt NHS England was taking too long to publish the report's findings.

NHS England said the report was "challenging" and identified some "long-standing problems".

The report was one of 11 commissioned last year by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt into "distressed local health economies" across England, including Staffordshire.

To tackle the potential deficit KPMG suggested measures including:

  • More services being provided in the community
  • County Hospital in Stafford becoming an "elective and rehabilitation centre" on a smaller site, with capital costs being reduced through the sale of land
  • Reducing the number of beds in Tamworth Community Hospital
  • Reviewing the future of Longton and Cheadle community hospitals

Labour MP Mr Farrelly said asking health services in Staffordshire to do "more with less resources" was "clearly unsustainable".

An NHS England spokesperson said: "The recent investment of £250m in University Hospitals of the North Midlands NHS trust provides a strong platform for the transformation of health and care services in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent."

The report also highlights a "generally oppressive culture" across the service, even though staff had "great enthusiasm" for improvement.

Oppressive culture examples:

  • Very strongly worded emails that tend to "escalate or inflame issues"
  • Saying one thing in a meeting and then doing something else
  • Promising to do something and then not carrying it out
  • An "extraordinarily meeting reliant" culture

This week Mr Farrelly asked a question in Parliament about why the reports had yet to be published.

In a written answer heath minister Jane Ellison said work was "ongoing" based on the contents of the reports and there were "a number of steps" to be undertaken in each of the local health economies before they can be published.

"To release the reports ahead of the steps... being completed would be likely to prejudice their outcome," her answer said.

The other 10 "distressed" health economies are Eastern Cheshire, North East and South West London, Cumbria, Mid Essex, Cambridge and Peterborough, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, East Sussex and Devon.

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