£364 million black hole in health funding leaves stark choices ahead

Coun Simon Cooke

Coun Simon Cooke

First published in News
Last updated

Bradford’s health and social care services face a funding shortfall of a staggering £364 million over the next five years, health bosses have warned.

And one health board member has said the district faces some “really hard” decisions, including possible hospital restructures, as it tries to balance the books.

The major cash shortfall would be caused by a range of factors, including shrinking public service budgets, the ageing population and the rising cost of new medical technology.

And this is despite a controversial Council decision earlier this year to tighten the eligibility criteria for access to home care for the elderly and disabled.

To demonstrate the sheer scale of the efficiencies still needed, that decision to raise the threshold for care was only expected to save Bradford Council £1.57 million a year.

The remaining shortfall was revealed at a private briefing for members of the Bradford and Airedale Health and Wellbeing Board.

After the briefing, board member Councillor Ralph Berry (Lab) said other parts of the country would be in a similar situation.

He said: “Nonetheless, it’s quite a gap isn’t it?”

Fellow board member Simon Cooke (Con) said the time had come to explore the options for major changes to the local health system, no matter how unpopular they might be.

He said: “If we don’t do something today then we will be short of money in five years’ time. We have got to be honest with ourselves, because some of these decisions are going to be really hard.”

He said it was the board’s job to take a wider, long-term look at the local health and care system to see what was working and what wasn’t.

He said: “Do we need two A&E departments? I know what people in Keighley would say, which is that they still need one.

“Do we have too many GP practices? There are lots of questions I don’t have the answers to.”

Coun Cooke added that he didn’t think the closure of an A&E department was particularly likely.

He said: “I use that because it is a fairly stark example. In terms of substantial changes, it could well be in the next three to five years that there will be a need to review hospital provision in the district.”

Javed Khan, chairman of the patients’ group Healthwatch Bradford and District and a member of the board, acknowledged that “radical changes” were needed, but said it was crucial that the public was fully consulted about them.

He said: “Those making decisions must engage with people and listen to their experiences, views and needs when planning the radical changes to the health and social care system that are required.”

Mr Khan called for the most vulnerable to be protected as far as possible.

Councillor David Green, leader of Bradford Council and chairman of the health board, said the district’s three local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups had previously warned of efficiencies needed of around £250m to £300m over the next five years, but further work on the financial modelling had revealed the figure of £364m.

He said: “The challenge for the Health and Wellbeing Board is to ensure that there is a sustainable health and social care system for the future and that public funds available to the whole system are spent on the right priorities for the district.”

Bridget Fletcher, chief executive at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said Steeton’s Airedale Hospital was due to open a new emergency department in the autumn, which would “provide the emergency care our patients need now and in the future”.

She said: “We are working with partners across the district to look at our priorities going forward and consider what we can do differently in the future to transform health and social care and improve quality and outcomes for our local community.

“We are also working with technology partners to look at innovative ways to support patients closer to home and close the gap between primary, community, social and secondary care.”

Bradford Teaching Hospitals declined to comment.

Over the coming years, the board wants to encourage the public to take more responsibility for their own health needs and it is also expected to focus more resources on preventative measures, to try to keep people healthier for longer.

It is currently working on its five-year strategy, which is expected to go before the board shortly.

Comments (11)

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7:11pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Grumpygirl says...

It's very simple, National Insurance will have to increase. It's either that or an unpalatable choice between private provision, in which case the poor would suffer, or cutting back the services to the absolute basics, and once again the poor would be the losers.

By taxing everybody the risks are spread and the overall cost would be much cheaper than the price of private medical insurance. However I'm sure the Tories will prefer private medical insurance so their big-business mates and donors will make a lot of money.
It's very simple, National Insurance will have to increase. It's either that or an unpalatable choice between private provision, in which case the poor would suffer, or cutting back the services to the absolute basics, and once again the poor would be the losers. By taxing everybody the risks are spread and the overall cost would be much cheaper than the price of private medical insurance. However I'm sure the Tories will prefer private medical insurance so their big-business mates and donors will make a lot of money. Grumpygirl
  • Score: 8

8:23pm Tue 3 Jun 14

pcmanners says...

There is no point in prolonging the agony, the NHS is falling apart as do all misguided socialist schemes that try to replace the market. Everything has to be paid for, including health care. The Government has very nearly privatised the NHS and after the next election the pretence of free care will be entirely abolished and replaced by private medicine.

The poor can then decide whether to buy medical insurance or Sky TV and super lager. The choice will be theirs.
There is no point in prolonging the agony, the NHS is falling apart as do all misguided socialist schemes that try to replace the market. Everything has to be paid for, including health care. The Government has very nearly privatised the NHS and after the next election the pretence of free care will be entirely abolished and replaced by private medicine. The poor can then decide whether to buy medical insurance or Sky TV and super lager. The choice will be theirs. pcmanners
  • Score: -12

8:39pm Tue 3 Jun 14

sorrow&anger says...

This is clearly a deeply worrying shortfall and, at least on the surface, it is hard to believe that this kind of money can be saved through efficiency measures. There will have to be some very real cuts which will mean for many of us shorter, and more painful, lives.

Given the seriousness of the situation is it wise to leave Cllr. Green in charge? At best he is a third-rate machine politician, skilled at climbing the greasy pole, but little else. We need somebody capable of managing the difficult choices as sensibly and humanely as possible.
This is clearly a deeply worrying shortfall and, at least on the surface, it is hard to believe that this kind of money can be saved through efficiency measures. There will have to be some very real cuts which will mean for many of us shorter, and more painful, lives. Given the seriousness of the situation is it wise to leave Cllr. Green in charge? At best he is a third-rate machine politician, skilled at climbing the greasy pole, but little else. We need somebody capable of managing the difficult choices as sensibly and humanely as possible. sorrow&anger
  • Score: 9

9:05pm Tue 3 Jun 14

micela22 says...

provide a service for those who pay or have paid for it via tax /national insurance. If you haven`t the contribution get out the credit card or insurance policy goes for all services including maternity, can no longer provide it for free
provide a service for those who pay or have paid for it via tax /national insurance. If you haven`t the contribution get out the credit card or insurance policy goes for all services including maternity, can no longer provide it for free micela22
  • Score: 6

9:12pm Tue 3 Jun 14

FinlandStation says...

So Councillor Cooke wants to reduce the number of GPs. Did he not read this week's report which described inner Bradford as one of the worst places in the country for gaining access to a GP? Or, is he a typical Conservative, and couldn't care less what happens to the poor?

Austerity is the problem. There is plenty of money to be raised if the Government would go after the multi-millionaire tax dodgers. Unfortunately the lot in power now have form when it comes to being soft on big business.
So Councillor Cooke wants to reduce the number of GPs. Did he not read this week's report which described inner Bradford as one of the worst places in the country for gaining access to a GP? Or, is he a typical Conservative, and couldn't care less what happens to the poor? Austerity is the problem. There is plenty of money to be raised if the Government would go after the multi-millionaire tax dodgers. Unfortunately the lot in power now have form when it comes to being soft on big business. FinlandStation
  • Score: 8

9:16pm Tue 3 Jun 14

pcmanners says...

micela22 wrote:
provide a service for those who pay or have paid for it via tax /national insurance. If you haven`t the contribution get out the credit card or insurance policy goes for all services including maternity, can no longer provide it for free
Spot on. No more socialist free stuff. People have to learn to stand on their own two feet. Poverty is a lifestyle choice.
[quote][p][bold]micela22[/bold] wrote: provide a service for those who pay or have paid for it via tax /national insurance. If you haven`t the contribution get out the credit card or insurance policy goes for all services including maternity, can no longer provide it for free[/p][/quote]Spot on. No more socialist free stuff. People have to learn to stand on their own two feet. Poverty is a lifestyle choice. pcmanners
  • Score: -2

9:33pm Tue 3 Jun 14

BaildonGuy says...

sorrow&anger wrote:
This is clearly a deeply worrying shortfall and, at least on the surface, it is hard to believe that this kind of money can be saved through efficiency measures. There will have to be some very real cuts which will mean for many of us shorter, and more painful, lives.

Given the seriousness of the situation is it wise to leave Cllr. Green in charge? At best he is a third-rate machine politician, skilled at climbing the greasy pole, but little else. We need somebody capable of managing the difficult choices as sensibly and humanely as possible.
You can only speak as you find, and after the way Cllr. Green cynically broke his promises at Buck Lane, I wouldn't trust him with anything, certainly nothing as important as the health of the City.
[quote][p][bold]sorrow&anger[/bold] wrote: This is clearly a deeply worrying shortfall and, at least on the surface, it is hard to believe that this kind of money can be saved through efficiency measures. There will have to be some very real cuts which will mean for many of us shorter, and more painful, lives. Given the seriousness of the situation is it wise to leave Cllr. Green in charge? At best he is a third-rate machine politician, skilled at climbing the greasy pole, but little else. We need somebody capable of managing the difficult choices as sensibly and humanely as possible.[/p][/quote]You can only speak as you find, and after the way Cllr. Green cynically broke his promises at Buck Lane, I wouldn't trust him with anything, certainly nothing as important as the health of the City. BaildonGuy
  • Score: 1

10:17pm Tue 3 Jun 14

lazybeat says...

This is not just a Bradford problem. York and North Yorks are worse than this. Unfortunately this is the beginning of the end of a once great NHS. What is most likely going to happen in the next decade is the critical care will be covered and all else will have to be funded through private medical insurance. because of the many issues the NHS is facing the £100 billion budget is eaten before patients can benefit. with a population of 64 million and growing, most of it moving to the pension age, the country will not be able to afford this luxury.
No one will really know the true loss of the NHS until its gone and then they would wish they never abused it. I have seen the American medical system and how the low earners are left with no quality of life. I'm just amazed its lasted this long.
This is not just a Bradford problem. York and North Yorks are worse than this. Unfortunately this is the beginning of the end of a once great NHS. What is most likely going to happen in the next decade is the critical care will be covered and all else will have to be funded through private medical insurance. because of the many issues the NHS is facing the £100 billion budget is eaten before patients can benefit. with a population of 64 million and growing, most of it moving to the pension age, the country will not be able to afford this luxury. No one will really know the true loss of the NHS until its gone and then they would wish they never abused it. I have seen the American medical system and how the low earners are left with no quality of life. I'm just amazed its lasted this long. lazybeat
  • Score: 2

10:29pm Tue 3 Jun 14

lazybeat says...

pcmanners wrote:
There is no point in prolonging the agony, the NHS is falling apart as do all misguided socialist schemes that try to replace the market. Everything has to be paid for, including health care. The Government has very nearly privatised the NHS and after the next election the pretence of free care will be entirely abolished and replaced by private medicine.

The poor can then decide whether to buy medical insurance or Sky TV and super lager. The choice will be theirs.
medical insurance cost a little bit more than a sky subscription. a decent policy for a family will be around £150-200 a month
[quote][p][bold]pcmanners[/bold] wrote: There is no point in prolonging the agony, the NHS is falling apart as do all misguided socialist schemes that try to replace the market. Everything has to be paid for, including health care. The Government has very nearly privatised the NHS and after the next election the pretence of free care will be entirely abolished and replaced by private medicine. The poor can then decide whether to buy medical insurance or Sky TV and super lager. The choice will be theirs.[/p][/quote]medical insurance cost a little bit more than a sky subscription. a decent policy for a family will be around £150-200 a month lazybeat
  • Score: 2

2:57am Wed 4 Jun 14

dellorri says...

lazybeat wrote:
pcmanners wrote:
There is no point in prolonging the agony, the NHS is falling apart as do all misguided socialist schemes that try to replace the market. Everything has to be paid for, including health care. The Government has very nearly privatised the NHS and after the next election the pretence of free care will be entirely abolished and replaced by private medicine.

The poor can then decide whether to buy medical insurance or Sky TV and super lager. The choice will be theirs.
medical insurance cost a little bit more than a sky subscription. a decent policy for a family will be around £150-200 a month
In all honesty pcmanners (oxymoron) has no idea what he is talking about in the first place, so I wouldn't bother trying to correct him LB. His ideas on health insurance are probably garnered from what he has seen on the TV advertisements, you know the ones "Your health covered from as little as £2.50 per week." That just about covers GP visits and prescription charges, but as you say should you need anything more than that, accident cover/ pre-existing illness cover, the premiums skyrocket. Also, isn't it strange, that the NHS is struggling so with funding cuts and hospital closures, yet private clinics are springing up all over the place, ready and willing to "help out" with the long waiting lists for procedures.
It's also quite telling that the governments advisers on health and welfare reform, just happen to be........ A large American insurance company called UNUM INSURANCE, who have incidentally been outlawed in several states of America for claims denials to disabled persons, using the LiMa computer programme. Yes the very same computer programme used by ATOS to run the WCA assessments for the DWP. Guess what ? The chief medical officer for ATOS used to hold a similar job for ten years previously in America........ For UNUM INSURANCE. The government advisors who told the government how to change our welfare system, so that people would be better off buying private unemployment and health insurance, otherwise known as the UNUM BACKUP PLAN. The very plan which got them outlawed in California, and had them facing a federal jury in Boston.
[quote][p][bold]lazybeat[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pcmanners[/bold] wrote: There is no point in prolonging the agony, the NHS is falling apart as do all misguided socialist schemes that try to replace the market. Everything has to be paid for, including health care. The Government has very nearly privatised the NHS and after the next election the pretence of free care will be entirely abolished and replaced by private medicine. The poor can then decide whether to buy medical insurance or Sky TV and super lager. The choice will be theirs.[/p][/quote]medical insurance cost a little bit more than a sky subscription. a decent policy for a family will be around £150-200 a month[/p][/quote]In all honesty pcmanners (oxymoron) has no idea what he is talking about in the first place, so I wouldn't bother trying to correct him LB. His ideas on health insurance are probably garnered from what he has seen on the TV advertisements, you know the ones "Your health covered from as little as £2.50 per week." That just about covers GP visits and prescription charges, but as you say should you need anything more than that, accident cover/ pre-existing illness cover, the premiums skyrocket. Also, isn't it strange, that the NHS is struggling so with funding cuts and hospital closures, yet private clinics are springing up all over the place, ready and willing to "help out" with the long waiting lists for procedures. It's also quite telling that the governments advisers on health and welfare reform, just happen to be........ A large American insurance company called UNUM INSURANCE, who have incidentally been outlawed in several states of America for claims denials to disabled persons, using the LiMa computer programme. Yes the very same computer programme used by ATOS to run the WCA assessments for the DWP. Guess what ? The chief medical officer for ATOS used to hold a similar job for ten years previously in America........ For UNUM INSURANCE. The government advisors who told the government how to change our welfare system, so that people would be better off buying private unemployment and health insurance, otherwise known as the UNUM BACKUP PLAN. The very plan which got them outlawed in California, and had them facing a federal jury in Boston. dellorri
  • Score: 5

9:32am Wed 4 Jun 14

MontyLeMar says...

It sounds like it's crunch time. The time when a cost-cutting government meets the expensive needs of an ageing population. The government could either abandon the old or find the money to provide the care they need. They seem to be able to find £50 billion to build a high-speed railway most people agree is not needed, but when it comes to caring for the vulnerable apparently the cupboard is bare. What a shower we have elected. The council should just go ahead and spend what is needed and dare the government to bankrupt them.
It sounds like it's crunch time. The time when a cost-cutting government meets the expensive needs of an ageing population. The government could either abandon the old or find the money to provide the care they need. They seem to be able to find £50 billion to build a high-speed railway most people agree is not needed, but when it comes to caring for the vulnerable apparently the cupboard is bare. What a shower we have elected. The council should just go ahead and spend what is needed and dare the government to bankrupt them. MontyLeMar
  • Score: 0

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