GPs call on patients to lobby for fairer deal as more cuts expected

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With a predicted overspend running into tens of millions of pounds, NHS England have called in the auditors to assess spending at NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group - which is responsible for planning, buying and monitoring healthcare services in.

Local GPs are concerned that Deloitte may force through more cuts to what they say is an already woefully underfunded but extremely efficient East Cheshire Health Economy.

Therefore, with the impeding General Election on June 8th, doctors are calling on the residents of East Cheshire to hold their politicians to account and win a fairer deal for their local NHS services which they state have been chronically underfunded by successive governments for decades.

The GPs of Chelford, Handforth, Alderley Edge and Wilmslow, Knutsford, Bollington, Poynton, Disley, Congleton, Holmes Chapel and Macclesfield say the NHS is slowly imploding and they are fighting for survival.

In order to let patients know about "the growing threat to their local health services" local NHS GP surgeries have set up a website and they are asking all residents to write to all their prospective parliamentary candidates, asking them what they will do to ensure that the area's NHS services are funded adequately and fairly and to ensure that funding formulae stop discriminating against the taxpayers of Cheshire East.

A local GP, who wished to remain anonymous, told wilmslow.co.uk "All GPs across East Cheshire, from Disley to Knutsford and from Handforth to Congleton, are solidly behind the NHSSOS.Org.UK site. For far too long, residents in East Cheshire have been short-changed when it comes to NHS funding. Just take a look at the site and the figures it quotes from official NHS data. The funding is grossly unfair. A taxpayer in East Cheshire receives MUCH less NHS funding than a taxpayer elsewhere, despite on average being older and more in need of healthcare.

"Despite making huge efficiency savings over the years and outperforming most other areas of the country in terms of keeping people out of hospital and keeping people healthier for longer, this chronically underfunded area is being lined up for massive cuts.

"The fat has already been cut. That can only be bad for patient care. The area is one of 11 health economies in the UK where the auditors have been called in to assess the finances."

"Residents of East Cheshire need to be aware of this and to be prepared for significant cuts to services in the coming months if the current funding allocation is allowed to continue."

"We would ask all residents to lobby their local parliamentary candidates and make them aware of the looming threat to NHS services across the area."

He added "The CCG has been forced to stop funding St Annes's Hospice and East Cheshire Trust has already closed down X-Ray facilities in Handforth."

If nothing changes, GPs say the future for local NHS Services will be longer waiting times to see a GP and nurse, longer hospital waiting times, limits to what your doctor can prescribe you and longer wait times to get scans, blood tests, a diagnosis and hospital treatment.

Additionally they predict the future could see the closure of your local GP surgery or a severe reduction in the services they offer, loss of community clinics and services, greater travelling times to hospitals in other areas and they may introduce charges like paying to see your GP!

For more information visit www.nhssos.org.uk.

Tags:
NHS, NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group
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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Pippa Jones
Saturday 20th May 2017 at 7:59 am
We are incredibly lucky to have the GP services that we have in East Cheshire and in the NHS generally. They keep us healthy through health promotion and primary prevention, and sort us out when things go wrong. Like most readers of wilmslow.co.uk I have many reasons to be thankful to our local GPs, not just for me but for my family, including a very frail and very elderly relative who is kept comfortable and happy at home because he is looked after by a fantastic GP and practice staff.

The NHS is in crisis: that is not a party political statement but a reality, and we risk watching it implode before our eyes...and it won't be till its gone that we realise what we have lost. Please have a look at NHSSOSEastCheshire and see what they have to say...and think seriously about writing to ALL the candidates in this election to ensure they hear us loud and clear.

The NHS has a major recruitment crisis, and it is really not going to be possible to train an army of GPs in the next few years: it takes at least 5 years to qualify as a doctor and at least 5 years thereafter to train as a GP (and much longer as a hospital specialist).

When politicians tell you how much extra money has gone into the NHS in the last 5 years, please read the testimony of Dr Sarah Wollaston, a GP herself and until the election was called, Chair of the Health Select Committee http://bit.ly/2pVldkn) : it hasn't.

If people tell you that it is immigration that has put the pressure on the NHS, well, the evidence is not very clear (http://bit.ly/2q2XOJV) and it is important also to remember that
a significant proportion of NHS staff are non UK citizens and without them the system would collapse (http://bit.ly/2gallGV).


The Health Foundation (health.org.uk) has issued some important apolitical briefings on the NHS in the advance of the election including one on a sustainable workforce, saying that the future NHS workforce is at risk without urgent action from the next government.

In East Cheshire, our GPs are in crisis. Deloitte has been brought in to make more savings, but there are few savings to be made: they have saved £3.6m in prescriptions, have one of the lowest hospital referral rates in Cheshire and Merseyside, and like GPs across the country, are finding it incredibly difficult to recruit new staff at a time when many GPs are retiring.

Much of this pressure on services relates to increased survival, which should be something we are celebrating, but means that there are a great many people growing older with a great many health conditions which are complex to manage. There are also many people like me who in days gone by without high quality health care would not have survived to be commentating on health care in 2017!

If you care about your NHS services in East Cheshire, please check out the NHSSOSEastCheshire website, read up on the facts so you are not swayed by inaccurate representations of reality (the links I have quoted are not in any way party political and east Cheshire GPs are not known for their political radicalism) and write, email, call or directly challenge all the candidates on their policies for the NHS. The NHS is our life saver and represents what's the best in our country: caring for all of us irrespective of wealth.

I very genuinely do not know who I am going to vote for on June 8th so this is not a party political statement. I want to challenge all our candidates to show they really understand the issues and hear what they are going to do to prevent our services imploding.

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