Harrogate NHS forecast deficit doubles in matter of months to Â£14million
A forecast Â£14million deficit in the health service of the Harrogate District has been described as a "very fragile situation" by a North Yorkshire health chief.
Earlier this year the Harrogate and Rural Clinical Commissioning Group (HaRD CCG), which commissions health services for the district, revealed a forecast deficit of £6.5million.
But in the latest financial report of its governing body meeting, on December 7, the CCG said the anticipated deficit by the end of the financial year (March 2018) would be over £14million
Chief Officer of HaRD CCG, Amanda Bloor, said: “People across the Harrogate district consistently benefit from some of the highest rated NHS services in England; however as a local healthcare system we have acknowledged over the past two years that we face significant financial challenges.
"We have been working with NHS England throughout to address this financial challenge head on and as a matter of urgency and we are not expecting this figure to rise further over the coming months.
"We are receiving support from NHS England to ensure we manage demand within our allocated resources whilst ensuring we continue to transform services during 2018/19.
"The health of people living in Harrogate district remains a priority – and our commitment to this has and will not change”.
But the Chair of the North Yorkshire's Scrutiny of Health Commission, Coun Jim Clark, said that the 'fragile situation' rested on how harsh the winter months were, being one of the most challenging times of the year for any health service.
He said: "I think a lot is going to depend on how hard a winter we have. We have gone from having over a £6million deficit to now £14million in a few months and I think a lot of that will depend on how severe the winter is and the fact that there are far too many people in hospital who need to be moved out as quickly as possible.
"I know they are working on things but it's a very fragile situation at the moment and Harrogate is in a similar position to every other Clinical Commissioning Group in North Yorkshire."
Coun Clark also warned that the doubled deficit could result in longer waiting lists for Harrogate district patients needing treatment.
"At some point there must be some impact on elected surgeries and it may be that people have to wait longer for routine operations, that's always one way of trying to address the situation.
"But it's very important that we make sure that people can get the treatment they need."