Can health services work together? - 'Teamwork' bid for struggling Mid Yorkshire Hospitals

Calderdale Royal Hospital
Calderdale Royal Hospital

NHS finance chiefs have been urged to work closer together to deliver the best services for people across Kirklees and Calderdale.

And as the health “family” of Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and NHS provider Locala meet the ongoing challenge of finding more cuts, so they have been asked to assuage concerns about the potential treatment “lottery” confronting people living in the borough and beyond.

Health bosses face another year of significant financial challenges which were laid bare at a meeting of Kirklees Council’s Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Panel held in Huddersfield Town Hall on Tuesday (June 19).

Collectively they must shave tens of millions of pounds from their budgets in what is increasingly a harsh financial climate.

Each of the organisations will have to make efficiency savings. Their options include:

- Running fewer operating theatre sessions by carrying out more morning and afternoon procedures

- Buying supplies in bulk

- Sending patients home earlier

- Less reliance on agency staffing

There are also plans to create a “bank” of available health professionals that could work across sites, thus reducing agency staff costs.

Referring to the collaborations between the various CCGs, panel chair Clr Liz Smaje pointed out that residents across Kirklees might receive treatment at an array of hospitals including HRI in Huddersfield, Calderdale Royal in Halifax and Pinderfields in Wakefield.

She sought an assurance that services would be the same at all hospitals so that some areas would not suffer from a sub-standard service.

And she asked whether a scenario might arise where hospitals in Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield could come together to discuss the requirements of patient care in the borough.

For the Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees CCGs, chief finance officer Ian Currell stressed the ongoing partnership between the two groups but added: “I cannot pretend that we will always do exactly the same thing because the reality is that we are two separate trusts.”

Catherine Riley, assistant director of strategic planning at Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, said close working with social care providers ensured that a person’s care would not be impacted by where they lived.

“There are people who are resident in Kirklees and are in our hospital beds at Calderdale Royal, or people who are resident in Calderdale but may be in a Huddersfield hospital bed.

“The close working that we have done with the social care providers makes sure that people get the right service that they need, when they need it, irrespective of which hospital they are in. We work very hard to make sure you still get your local social care provision.”