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Closing the gap: meeting our financial challenge

Our Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership is committed to working in a collaborative way to respond to the extreme financial challenges that face all of us. To meet these challenges head on we are in the process of setting up a project group and programme. This programme of work is called ‘Closing the Gap’.

As a health and care system with responsibility for making the best use of our collective resource, our integrated care system for West Yorkshire has been advised by NHS England that we must all look for savings to cover the expected financial gap. As a result, our integrated care system has asked that we – in Bradford District and Craven – must find approximately £5m – £6m of additional savings across our NHS partners during 2023-2024 – and then we will need to continue to look for very significant savings for April 2024 and beyond.

At the time of writing (May 2024) we are expecting an underlying deficit of around £48m across NHS partners in Bradford District and Craven. We have made good progress since setting up the closing the gap programme as we have reduced our forecasted underlying deficit from £80-90m in February to our latest projection of £72m in March 2024. In addition, we are asking all our provider NHS trusts to look at how they can work differently – such as reducing duplication or stopping any activity that has limited evidence of effectiveness – to consider how trusts can operate while saving 10% of our total budgets.

Setting up our programme group

Our Partnership Leadership Executive – that has representation from all sectors – has asked our system director of finance, Mike Woodhead (who is also Chief Finance Officer for Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust) and Louise Clarke (Director of Strategy Transformation for our partnership) to set up a programme group. The membership of this group is being worked through but we are clear that this will involve all sectors from the NHS, local authorities, independent care and voluntary and community sector.

We will work collaboratively and transparently to explore how we can safely meet our challenge. We are doing this while maintaining a focus on ensuring the quality of services remains good, continuing our work on prevention and early help and committed to ensuring any decisions recognise our commitment to reducing health inequalities. We will also look to identify ways we can reduce duplication of effort and resource, and ensure we are getting best value for money from all our delivery partners.

Our financial challenge

Our first steps have been to identify how and where we spend the overall system resource (£1.7 billion net across the NHS and council). Our next steps are to set out our population health needs and assess this against our activity, outcomes, and expenditure. We are really clear that we won’t be focusing on a solely cost cutting exercise and instead will carefully consider the wider impacts any decisions could have – both in terms of the health and wellbeing of the people we serve and our future budgets. By taking a more needs-based approach to the way we use the resources available to us, we can ensure that resources are directed to where they are most needed and that patients receive the care they require.

We are involving all sectors in our programme

In particular we recognise and hear the concerns of our voluntary, community and social enterprise and independent care provider sectors. This is why we are ensuring that there is an equal voice for both sectors in our closing the gap programme. This will then ensure that we can test out different approaches and ideas, understanding what impact they will make now as well as any longer-term issues they may cause, before deciding on the options that have the least impacts – now and in the future.

We remain committed to our vision

Using our Act as One ethos, underpinned with a commitment to tackle inequalities, we remain determined to delivering our vision of people living ‘happy, healthy at home’. We will provide an update early in 2024 outlining the progress we have made and how you can provide insight and help make the difficult decisions that need to be made.

This is our first update on Closing the Gap. In early 2024 we will provide more information, including the terms of reference for the programme group and membership once approved. In the meantime, if you have any ideas that could help us meet this challenge, please do get in touch by emailing actasone@nhs.net.

Briefings

Here you can find copies of our system-wide updates on our closing the gap programme.

Introduction to closing the gap: meeting our financial challenge (December 2023)

This is the introduction to the Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership closing the gap programme. It sets out the scale of the challenge facing us and how we remain determined to use our Act as One ethos to involve all sectors in our health and care partnership. Read closing the gap: meeting our financial challenge (December 2023).

Closing the gap update: meeting our financial challenge (February 2023)

This is the second update from our Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership’s closing the gap programme. In this update, we want to share details of the progress we’re making as well as highlighting the timescales and risks we’re looking to mitigate. Read closing the gap: meeting our financial challenge (update 2: 12 February 2024).