Cash-strapped Solihull health chiefs have been ordered to save £12 million over the next three years.
A major report by NHS England last year warned that the health service could be facing a funding gap of £30 billion by the end of the decade.
This means Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), led by local doctors and nurses who buy healthcare services for around 238,000 local residents, needs to reduce spending by £4 million a year for the next three years.
No announcement has yet been made to how the cuts will effect services.
But the savings are just the latest in a series of controversial decisions on Solihull’s healthcare, which has seen the merger of the walk-in centre, the downgrading of the A&E department to a Urgent Care unit and proposals to close the hospital’s Ward 10 dementia unit.
Dr Patrick Brooke, Chief Officer of Solihull CCG, said: “This is a tough challenge for us, but it is not something we should shy away from if we are to retain high quality healthcare services for the citizens of Solihull.
“We are committed to commissioning the best possible healthcare for Solihull. An example of this is our innovative approach to securing a long term future for urgent care services in Solihull Hospital.
“We believe that we in the CCG, led by doctors, nurses and Solihull residents, are the right people to accept this difficult challenge in order to ensure a long term, sustainable future for healthcare services in Solihull.”
Solihull CCG has now created an Effectiveness Review Group, made up of local experts, which will review the effectiveness and value for money of the services. In May it will make recommendations to the governing body as to how the CCG can make the cuts while having the lowest possible effect on patients.
Dr Anand Chitnis, Chair of Solihull CCG, added: “The NHS is not exempt from the financial pressures of the country in general and we all have to play our part in reducing costs.”
The CCG will be working closely with Solihull Health and Wellbeing Board to reduce the effect on patients as much as possible.
Any significant proposed changes will go to public consultation.