Local health and social care services are under severe financial pressure, and in Devon we are likely to be £557million in deficit in 2020/21 if nothing changes. Any plan we produce has to be affordable and address the widening gap between the services we deliver and the funds available. We know that people will expect us to make sure that our running and overhead costs are as lean as they can be, to maximise the amount of money we can spend on our “frontline” services to patients.
We know that there is still inefficiency and waste in the health and care system. A large proportion of the savings we want to make can come from the way our services are organised. For example, fragmentation and duplication of services across the health and social care system is inefficient and leads to poorer patient experience.
In February 2015, Lord Carter of Coles highlighted several ways that the NHS could increase its efficiency and our plans will take into account his recommendations which cover procurement, estate management and workforce.
Technology is revolutionising the way we deliver care and we need to grasp the nettle and make sure that our digital plans are fit for the future. We need to use IT to make it easy for health and care professionals to access and share patient records and data securely, streamline processes by providing referrals and discharge summaries electronically and make it easier for patients by providing electronic prescription services and online appointment booking.