NHS Peterborough – £100 Million in Cuts Means Job Losses

08:15 Wednesday 20th July 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: Well just how do you save £100 million on health care in this city without affecting patient safety and patient care? Well there was a big meeting last night. Russ Platt is the Interim Chief Operating Officer from NHS Peterborough. Russ, you were there. You spoke to the Scrutiny Committee. Were they happy with your plans?
RUSS PLATT: Good morning Paul. Were they happy? I think we had a very good discussion last night. I was able to lay out I think a couple of very important principles. Firstly, this isn’t particular to Peterborough. This is part of a national process, it’s a national issue, it’s part of a £20 billion nationally that we talk about as the challenge to the NHS. I was able to confirm that everything we do, there’s an absolute guarantee that quality stays the same or gets better. And most of the opportunities, almost all of the opportunities actually that we look at to make changes improve the quality. But at the same time, we need to make what we call productivity changes. We need to spend our money more wisely. I think it’s very important that people realise this isn’t about cutting the budget of the NHS. This is about year on year increases still, but ..
PAUL STAINTON: But it’s about stopping a £100 million black hole appearing by 2015.
RUSS PLATT: Well it is a challenge. It’s £100 million as you say over four years, but it’s about, it’s about there is more money year on year, but there isn’t the growth that we’ve had in the past.
PAUL STAINTON: We spoke to Brian Rush earlier, Chairman of the Scrutiny Commission, who was critical that there was no ideas there for how you were going to do this exactly, how you were going to save £100 million, and safeguard safety, and safeguard health care. He was very very unconvinced.
RUSS PLATT: OK. Well I thought we had a very good discussion, a good debate last night.
PAUL STAINTON: Can you tell us now? Can you tell us now a few ..
PAUL STAINTON: .. exactly, in layman’s terms, exactly how you will go about cutting some of this money and saving some of this money?
RUSS PLATT: Absolutely. I laid out soem examples last night before the Committee. But we talked last week. We talked last week about the Primary Care and Urgent Care strategy for Peterborough, that we’re working on at the moment, the consultation still under way, and we still welcome people’s views. But what that’s about, we call it The Right Care at the Right Time, and I think that’s exactly the isue. It’s about people getting patients to the right place at the right time, to get the correct care.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. We spoke about that. That’ll save a few quid. Yes.
RUSS PLATT: But I think it’s a really good example, because as well as making sure people actually see the right clinician, rather than just a clinician, it makes it much more productive.
PAUL STAINTON: So that’s one aspect. Can we break the rest down? Because there’s a lot of money to save here. That will save a few thousand pounds, or a few million.
RUSS PLATT: Well, six million. Six million pounds.
PAUL STAINTON: Ninety four to go.
RUSS PLATT: OK. There’s a while myriad, a whole myriad of plans in place. So for example, we’ve reworked the Maternity pathway through Peterborough Hospital, to ensure that that’s more cost-effective, and of a higher quality. There’s considerable wok that’s being done on the MSK, the Musculo-Skeletal, that’s physio- and bone operations, surgical operations. That’s been reworked. That’s a new service that’s now started. So there’s a whole raft of schemes that we’re working on.
PAUL STAINTON: Can you guarantee now then, that there will be no cuts to services between now and 2015? There will be no further job losses?
RUSS PLATT: Well there will be .. there will be changes. There will be changes in the workforce. It’s about .. it’s about making sure that care is delivered in the right place. So it’s much more about delivering care closer to home.
PAUL STAINTON: That will affect health services though. Because if there’s less people delivering care, that’ll affect services, surely. You said you could do it without doing that.
RUSS PLATT: There is a productivity challenge here. You know, there is less money coming through than we have had in the past. As we know, the population is ageing. There’s inflation in the system. medicine becomes more expensive, both the drugs and the techniques that are used. So we have to be more efficient. But the point is, I think the very important point is, that there’s no suggestion whatsoever that we’ll reduce quality, and there’s no suggestion whatsoever that we’ll reduce access to health care.
PAUL STAINTON: Ministers were wading in yesterday. They were quite scathing about health care in Peterborough, and saying that the whole ethos needs to change, the whole thing needs to change. It’s not acceptable to keep putting sticking plasters over this bit or that bit. Do you agree?
RUSS PLATT: This is exactly about this process that we’re talking about, QIPP, (note:Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention) is exactly, in Peterborough, is exactly about a change, a fundamental change to the way in which health care is delivered in the system.
PAUL STAINTON: How many jobs do you expect to lose over the next four years?
RUSS PLATT: I don’t have a number for that.
RUSS PLATT: I don’t have a number for that Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: You’ve got a plan Russ. Roughly.
RUSS PLATT: We do have a plan. But I haven’t got a number in terms of jobs. I think there will be change. There will be savings, a lot of savings, substantial savings in so-called back room staff, in managers, and in administrative staff, but it’s about making sure that the front line, the front line clinical staff, are there to deliver the care. This isn’t about going back to the bad old days of extended waiting lists, and six month, nine month, twelve month waits for hip operations. This is about delivering care quickly and effectively. It’s not about cutting ..
PAUL STAINTON: So we are going to lose back room staff, managers, maybe 100, a couple of hundred people perhaps?
RUSS PLATT: There will be .. there will be reductions in staff across the system.
PAUL STAINTON: OK. And services? Can you guarantee that all the services that are currently operating will be operating in 2015?
RUSS PLATT: I think .. I think there will be changes. Some of those services will change ..
PAUL STAINTON: Is that a yes or a no?
RUSS PLATT: Well it’s a .. it’ll be different Paul. As you’ve just teed up, it’s about fundamentally changing the system. So if people need .. if people are going to benefit from more physiotherapy and less surgery, the it will be about more physiotherapy and less surgery.
PAUL STAINTON: When are we going to notice the changes?
RUSS PLATT: Well I think we’re already starting to notice the changes actually. As I say, I’ve mentioned the consultation that’s under way. Anybody going through the bones and muscles, the Musculo-Skeletal pathway at the moment in Peterborough will notice it’s different. It’s a more joined up service, it’s more about getting the right care early. I think all of these changes are starting to flow through actually.
PAUL STAINTON: Russ, thank you for that. We’ve got to leave it there. Russ Platt is the Interim Chief Operating Officer from NHS Peterborough. Confident still, that he can deliver those savings of £100 million over the next four years without affecting health services, although he did say there would be some job losses, and services would change.