Sir George has reacted angrily to another letter from a local NHS trust proposing the closure of certain services to balance the books.
"In his Budget, the Chancellor boasted of the extra resources for the NHS and he did so again a fortnight ago when he announced the results of the Comprehensive Spending Review. But within days of this, I get a letter from a local Trust saying it has to reduce its costs by £1.4 million. They are proposing to close the Day Unit at Copper Beeches, which I visited last year and was very impressed by. Outside my constituency, they are closing day services, occupational therapy and physiotherapy services; not replacing a consultant's post; introducing "vacancy factors" in Ravenswood House; closing a day hospital for a day a week for a year; closing wards and reducing staffing."
"I don't blame local administrators for having to take these difficult decisions; they are doing what they are told. The problem is the funding formula which starves Hampshire of resources and obliges it to cut back on services. Until we get this right, the NHS locally will be unable to provide the standard service my constituents are entitled to."
Text of letter dated July 25th to Sir George from the Chief Executive of the West Hampshire NHS Trust.
Dear Sir George
Re: Achieving Financial Balance
I am writing to inform you that the Trust is going to start taking a number of actions to reduce our expenditure, to achieve a balance between income and expenditure for this and subsequent years.
This Trust has received additional income this year to fund the pay awards awarded by the Department of Health and additional funding for an increase in the use of new, better medication that is prescribed in accordance with National Institute of Clinical Excellence Guidelines (NICE), for the treatment of schizophrenia and for the treatment of dementia. However this Trust along with all other Trusts in Hampshire is also having to implement a 2% reduction in its costs, which in our case amounts to £1 .4 million.
In some services, particularly Elderly Mental Health Services and Learning Disability Services, we will be reducing costs at the same time as changing and indeed improving the model of service provided to the local population.
In other services the savings will be achieved through making more efficient use of Adult Mental Health in-patient beds and/or reducing the volume of service available. When the latter is required, we will be monitoring closely the impact on waiting times to ensure that they do not exceed the government targets for outpatient waiting times being no more than 13 weeks.
The attached schedule of savings proposals is currently the subject of discussion with Primary Care Trusts, staff and other stakeholder groups. It is likely that some of the more radical changes will only be implemented after a period of public consultation that will be led by the respective PCTs. The Trust is significantly overspending and therefore these measures will be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Included in savings proposed is the Closure of Copper Beeches, Day Unit, Andover to save £20,000. This would re-open once savings elsewhere in the budget had been realised.
Savings are also proposed in Elderly Mental Health services of £30,000 in a full-year by reducing private sector placements.
A further £100,000 of savings in Adult Mental Health Services are required, but have not been identified.