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£500m deficit looms for health services across the Black Country, report says

Health providers across the Black Country could face a funding deficit of more than £500 million if they do not change their 'unsustainable' ways of working, a report has said.


Mammoth savings are desperately needed across hospitals, surgeries and clinics before bills are racked up that health trusts and clinical commissioning groups cannot afford.

Health bosses are now looking at jobs losses and ways of drastically cutting A&E admissions to bring costs down.

The region's Strategic Transformation Plan (STP), which has had input from all the major councils and health providers, has revealed that a funding deficit of £512m could be racked up by 2021 if changes are not made.

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It added: "It is clear to us that our current ways of operating are unsustainable."

Health providers in Staffordshire also need to make mammoth savings, or they too will be left with a funding deficit of more than £500m by 2021. In a similar document, plans to cut staff numbers and reduce the cost of managing some of its buildings have been outlined.

In the Black Country the major project outlined in the STP is that of the new Midland Metropolitan Hospital, which will combine elements of Sandwell General and City Hospital in Birmingham.

Construction work is under way on the new Midland Metropolitan Hospital

Savings will come from 'efficiencies in staffing', while Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, which will run the hospital, hopes to eliminate much of its medical agency bill, which is one of the highest in the country.

Another major change will come with the provision of mental health services, with clinical commissioning groups across the Black Country combining forces to become one provider. The plan also outlines proposals to save £16.7m by reducing the number of patients with mental health problems going to A&E

It is hoped a significant saving of more than £58m will come from improving infant mortality rates across the region.

Around 100 babies die in the Black Country each year, with the figures well above the national average and among the worst in the UK.

Cutting it to 34 fewer deaths each year would produce an estimated saving of £58m. It hopes to reduce the number of deaths through better screening and treatment of pregnant women and new-born children.

A further £7 million is earmarked to be saved from reducing the number of admission to care homes across the Black Country. Andy Williams, the Black Country Sustainability and Transformation Plan lead, said: "We need to work together to meet these challenges within a tight financial envelope."

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