Two East Sussex care commissioning groups (CCG) have been placed in financial measures after finishing the year with a combined financial deficit of £37 million.
The Hastings and Rother and Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCGs have, as a consequence, been given legal directions by NHS England to get additional support in implementing a recovery plan to address the financial deficit.
This means East Sussex bosses can no longer take decisions over how their combined budget of around £612 million a year is spent locally.
It has also been revealed that the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT) ended the year with a deficit of £57 million.
A spokesman for the Hastings and Rother CCG said: “NHS England have published legal directions for both CCGs. This means that we will get additional support to further develop and implement our financial recovery plan to address the CCGs’ financial deficits while contributing to achieving financial balance across our local health and care system as a whole.
“As local people will know, we have made significant in-roads, with our ESHT partners, into addressing inequalities and improving access, quality and safety for local people.
“Our system has recently been recognised by NHS Improvement for its consistent performance over the last winter period despite the significant pressure of demand at the front door of our local hospitals – we were in the top 25 per cent of systems across the country for A&E performance; ESHT is no longer in special measures for quality; and our marked progress in reducing Delayed Transfers of Care, currently at 2 per cent – well below the national target of 3.5 per cent, is reflected in our very positive CQC Local Area review.
“However, this has not translated quickly enough into reducing either the level of activity or the unit cost, and now we must redouble our efforts to demonstrate we are making these improvements in services for the people of East Sussex in a way that makes the very best use of available resources.”
Anne Eden, the South East regional director for NHS England and NHS improvement, said the CCGs could only achieve financial sustainability with the support of local partners.
She added: “Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford and Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are facing some serious financial challenges and the best approach at this time is to support them using statutory directions. East Sussex Healthcare NHS trust also remain in special measures for financial reasons. Clinical and financial sustainability will not be achieved by the CCGs alone and it will require the participation and collaboration of all local partners.
“I have appointed a single improvement director to oversee a system improvement plan, to work on behalf of both NHS England and NHS Improvement. The plan will include both CCGs and East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.
“This integrated approach will help to ensure patients in East Sussex continue to receive high quality standards of care whilst we address the financial position.”
In a joint statement, Dr Martin Writer, chairman of Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG; Dr David Warden, chairman of Hastings and Rother CCG; and Amanda Philpott, chief officer of Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford and Hastings and Rother CCGs said: “It is no secret that the whole of the NHS is under significant financial challenge, and we in East Sussex are no different.
“Our staff and ESHT partners have worked incredibly hard to make significant quality and safety improvements for local people. Now we need to pay the same rigorous attention to detail to managing the money, and we welcome the additional support directions will give us to achieve this.”