Millions to be cut from NHS budget

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HEALTHCARE spending in Milton Keynes is set to be cut by £22.6 million this year.

The NHS is facing the toughest financial challenge since its inception in 1948 and the biggest and most radical reorganisation it has ever been asked to undertake, and in Milton Keynes alone will be looking to save the huge sum in one financial year.

Most of these savings, £13.5 million, have already been suggested, coming from proposed service changes, cuts and threshold increases to urgent care services, planned care, mental health and maternity and children’s services.

Cuts in the autumn saw the number of full-time PCT staff drop from 158 to 118 – a cut of 25 per cent, saving £1.75 million.

Consultation has begun on the cutbacks, with a series of meetings planned throughout January and February to hear the opinions of those who use the service.

Proposed cuts include fewer knee replacements, hip replacements, hysterectomy and keyhole surgeries.

There are also plans to cut the number of ambulance visits to patients calling the emergency 999 service to save £8,000.

Dr Nicholas Hicks, chief executive and the borough’s Director of Public Health, said: “NHS Milton Keynes strives always to makes sure we get value for the taxpayer’s pound.

“Our priority is to improve health, reduce inequalities and provide access to high quality, safe services for the people in Milton Keynes.

“The local NHS has to face some significant financial challenges ahead over the next few years.

“Only by working together will we succeed in reshaping the way services are delivered, reducing waste and inefficiencies.”

The next consultation meeting will take place on Monday, February 7 at Olney Town Council from 7.30pm.

For more information, visit www.miltonkeynes.nhs.uk

>> For a more in-depth look at the proposed cuts, see Thursday’s Citizen.