Why are we proposing these changes?

The NHS has improved significantly over the past fifteen years.  Many more advanced high-cost treatments are available which are supporting patients to live longer and dramatically improving their quality of life.  While this is good news, set alongside an increasing demand for health services it means that we must make some tough decisions about health priorities.

The clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Kirklees spend more than £500 million each year to ensure people receive the healthcare they need.  We are committed to delivering safe, high quality local health services, but must keep within our budget.

While the two CCGs in Kirklees have received an increase in funding, demand for services and associated costs such as medicines, treatments and the staff needed to provide them have increased too.   As a result, there is a gap between the cost of healthcare in Kirklees and the money available to pay for it.

The challenge we now face is how to invest the available budget in ways that most benefits the health of the whole population and represents good value for money.

The NHS budget is just the same as everyone’s household budget – we can only spend the money we have.  When the bills get higher we have to tighten our belt and cannot always commission more services.

This document sets out four areas where proposed changes could happen.   We want to consult with you and gather your ideas and views before making any decisions.“Talk health Kirklees” is an open and honest discussion with local people about the things we could do to get better value from NHS spending.

The areas are:

  • Over-the-counter medicines
  • Gluten-free foods
  • Procedures for managing individual funding requests
  • Branded medicines

The CCGs are also planning to change the way people order repeat prescriptions.   We would welcome any thoughts or suggestions you have about this.

In the future we will need to consider further changes.   Any proposals for change would be subject to the appropriate engagement or consultation through “Talk health Kirklees”.

This document sets out:

  • The current facts
  • Why the CCGs are proposing change
  • What the proposed changes will be
  • How you can have your say 

National context

The NHS budget is under significant pressure.  A growing and aging population, an increasing number of people living with long-term health conditions, and demand for new drugs and treatments all contribute to the financial challenge.

Nationally, NHS England has identified a gap between the money needed to provide services and the budget available.   It is expected that £22 billion of this gap will be closed by making efficiency savings across the NHS. 

Local picture

NHS clinical commissioning groups receive a budget to pay for a range of local health services including hospital and community-based care.    While the two CCGs in Kirklees have received an increase in their budgets for 2016/17, demand for services and associated costs such as medicines and staffing have increased too.  Here are some of the things that are costing more money:

  • medicines that treat and prevent blindness, prevent death from heart disease, and prevent severe disability from arthritis and related conditions
  • the amount we pay for hospitals, mental health and community services
  • packages of healthcare people receive to support them in their own homes
  • improvements to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)

The scale of the financial challenge in Kirklees is greater than we have faced before and means that we must work even harder to achieve value for money.  We have to do more with less money and take very tough decisions about what we can afford and what we cannot afford.