NHS aims for £530m savings in Sussex and East Surrey

Hospitals in Brighton, like many health services across Sussex, are under increasing pressure
Hospitals in Brighton, like many health services across Sussex, are under increasing pressure

Sussex and East Surrey’s NHS system is aiming to save £530m over the next four years as part of plans to create a ‘better system for all’.

The area’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) published today explains how health organisations will be working together to improve the quality of care patients receive, making it easier to see a GP or to use specialist services, and delivering services within the money available.

Total allocated funds for clinical commissioning groups, primary care, social care, and specialised commissioning across the area was £4bn for 16/17.

Last year the financial gap across the entire STP area was £127m and under the do-nothing option this is predicted to reach £864m by 2020/21.

The region is split into three areas: the Central Sussex & East Surrey Alliance (CS&ESA), covering Brighton and Hove, Horsham, Mid Sussex, Crawley, and the Lewes Havens High Weald; Coastal Care covering Arun, Adur, Worthing, and Chichester; and East Sussex Better Together (ESBT) which covers Hastings, Rother, Eastbourne, Hailsham, and Seaford.

Both Coastal Care and East Sussex Better Together are looking at accountable models of care, while the CS&ESA is aiming to create a multispecialty community provider.

In the short term there is a need to maximise the number of acute beds for winter as almost 90 beds have been lost across sites managed by Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust (BSUH) in the past year, while the two hospitals at Eastbourne and Hastings run by East Sussex Healthcare Trust have a combined shortfall of 66 beds.

Immediate actions include Royal Sussex County Hospital establishing 20 beds at a community site, 20 beds through ‘hospital at home’ extension, and 30 beds through internal movement of services and better use of the existing estate.

At Eastbourne and Hastings 39 community beds could be opened through the ‘discharge to assess’ programme, 22 beds in existing community hospitals, and ten beds through better use of the existing estate.

In a letter to health colleagues, Michael Wilson, chair of the Sussex and East Surrey STP, said: “Creating a better system for all, based on sustainable integrated person-centred care, could mean one of the most important social changes of our generation.

“It will have a profound impact on the health and wellbeing of society as a whole and our STP process provides us all with a unique opportunity that we must not miss.”

He added: “The STP work is a huge challenge; but there is a pressing case for change. We cannot keep doing what we are doing. The current health and social care system isn’t setup to meet the needs of today’s population.

“Many more people are living longer and there are more and better treatments available - both of which are great - but this means that people want and need a different kind of care.

“Although most people get good care in the current system most of the time; services are not always good enough - for example people sometimes wait too long and we can’t always recruit enough staff.”

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