Doctors to take over health spending

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FAMILY doctors in Calderdale, Kirklees, Wakefield, Hull, the East Riding and northern Lincolnshire today take over the spending of hundreds of millions pounds in NHS resources in landmark reforms.

GPs in Leeds, Bradford and Craven and most of South Yorkshire are likely to do so in coming weeks, while those in Barnsley and North Yorkshire will take on budgets probably from April.

They are being handed devolved responsibility for spending from NHS managers running primary care trusts (PCTs) although officials will retain ultimate legal authority for business carried out until they hand decision-making for the bulk of NHS expenditure to GPs from April 2013.

In Hull, the East Riding and northern Lincolnshire, four new clinical commissioning group committees led by GPs are taking the lead in planning and delivering £1.1bn in health services.

GP Gina Palumbo, who will head the East Riding group, said its vision was to deliver better care, more locally and within budget through transforming services.

“It’s about doing things differently. As with all public services we have a financial challenge and that’s all the more reason for us to be creative, innovative and work in more efficient ways,” she said.

GP Peter Melton, shadow accountable officer at North East Lincolnshire Care Trust Plus, said: “The NHS reforms are confusing and can be unsettling for all of us.

“One thing that is certain, however, is that we all need to work together and ensure that every penny intended to be spent for health and adult social care in North East Lincolnshire is spent wisely.”

Chris Long, chief executive of a board which will oversee work in the Humber area including plans to save £300m by 2015, said: “This will involve clinically led reviews on both sides of the Humber that will introduce innovative ways of delivering care to patients.”