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£130m cutbacks will keep us out of Southend A&E
HEALTH chiefs are planning a radical shake-up of services in a bid to save £130million over the next four years.
The measures include: - Convincing GPs not to refer as many patients to the hospital.
- Treating patients at the scene of an incident, rather than taking them to the hospital.
- Introducing an “A&E filter system”, where patients will be turned away from the department if they are not deemed an emergency.
- Treating patients with long-term conditions over the phone, rather than at the hospital.
- Reducing the amount of drugs wasted by GPs prescribing unnecessarily, and by targeting patients picking up too many repeat prescriptions.
A trust spokesman said: “Our referral rates have been higher than average over recent years and we have been over-reliant on hospital-based care.
“We are taking action to bring our referrals under control, ensuring patients receive the right care in the right place and within the resources available to the NHS.”
Details of the cost-cutting, dubbed, the “quality, innovation, productivity and prevention programme”, are slowly emerging as the trust finalises its plans.
Health chiefs believe implementing their proposals is the easiest way to save cash.
They want to talk to GPs and understand how to reverse a trend in the amount of people being referred.
They want to increase the use of specialist cars, which take doctors and nurses to elderly people who have suffered a fall, rather than bring them to hospital in an ambulance.
Health bosses have also begun a merger with NHS South West Essex – which covers Basildon, Thurrock and Brentwood – to further cut costs. The two trusts share a single chief executive, Andrew Pike, and other senior managers, which has cut the admin bills.
NHS South East Essex hopes to save £22.1million by the end of next March.
However, it has already missed its target for this point in the financial year. It aimed to save £2.9million by the end of July, but fell £700,000 short.
Dr Marimuthu Velmurugan, a GP at the Westborough Road surgery, Westcliff, backed the trust to succeed.
He said: “These are tough savings to make and it is not a good position for anyone to be in.
“However, we have to have faith in these people. This primary care trust is the best in the country.”
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