This week Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG announced a first round of £2.8 million in spending cuts affecting a range of services including brain injury rehabilitation, ophthalmology service, and dermatology with a further £1.3m expected later in the year.

It looks like community services will take the largest hit, with an urgent response team (JET) that supports over-65s with long-term conditions in their homes under threat.

The JET team responds within 2 to 4 hours when patients feel unwell, carrying out an initial assessment and developing care plans with patients and their GPs to prevent hospital admission.

An NHS Improvement report on JET revealed that the team had an admission avoidance rate of over 70%, preventing around 7000 hospital admissions a year,

Despite its plaudits Jet is part of cuts plan being drawn up by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG in an attempt to turnaround a £75 million deficit and overspending of around £1 million a week.

The scope of the CCG’s planned cuts are likely to hit community non-emergency transport services, stroke patients and carers support charities, plus further restrictions on IVF treatment according to Board papers.

Last month, health minister JackieDoyle Price wrote to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG, amongst others, condemning their rationing of IVF treatment. Since 2017, the CCG has suspended its IVF treatment programme contributing to the emerging postcode lottery for this service.

The CCG blames a lack of funding and disparities in the way government money is shared out, pointing out that it is the third lowest funded CCG in the country, with others receiving up to £350 per person more.

Jo Rust, regional organiser for UNISON, who took part in a protest as the CCG considered its plan, told the Peterborough Telegraph that she had some sympathy for the CCG’s argument that they are underfunded, but added that the cuts were worse than they looked, and warned that some were going “beneath the radar” as they were not affecting hospital trusts directly.

  • We will follow this story and similar cuts elsewhere in future issues of The Lowdown after the summer break.

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