North Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), alongside County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, carried out a programme of engagement between March and May 2019. This provided the local NHS with opportunities to seek the public’s views on services currently being delivered from Shotley Bridge Community Hospital. This also provided multiple chances to hear from local people about some of the considerations for how NHS care could be provided in the future across North West Durham.
We were extremely pleased that so many people took the time to contribute to the public events, online questionnaire or through the various outreach session that took place across the local area.
As part of the engagement work undertaken, discussions referenced the potential to build a new healthcare facility in the local area which was dependent on the availability of national capital funds.
In 2019/20 initial capital spending plans for NHS organisations nationally, substantially exceeded the current limit set by Parliament for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). As a result, all NHS organisations across the country have now been asked to review and prioritise capital plans with a view to nationally reducing capital spend in 2019/20. This includes spending on new buildings, equipment and IT systems, as well as the maintenance/replacement of existing assets.
The restrictions on NHS capital have only arisen very recently and apply to the whole of the country, so this is not just a County Durham issue. The CCG have been attempting to clarify the situation for a number of weeks as we know that it would be unlawful to carry out a public consultation without a guarantee that capital funding is available. However the CCG is still committed to the future of services in the North West Durham area. Services currently delivered from Shotley Bridge Community Hospital will still continue to be provided while we work through these issues.
With future levels of capital funding dependent on the Government Spending Review later in the year, at the present time the CCG is waiting for confirmation from NHS England over the availability of capital funding for any potential replacement for Shotley Bridge Hospital. Given these circumstances and the challenging climate within which the NHS is operating nationally, there is a need to identify and explore all options should funding not be available and to ensure we are managing our programmes of work responsibly and are making the best use of resources and estates in the local area.
Since the engagement finished all of the information collected through the various conversations has been independently compiled and analysed into a report. This report along with the notes form the public events will be available on the CCG website shortly. This report will be used, alongside a range of information and data, to support the development of a business case which will set out proposals and options for the future including, as appropriate, plans for further engagement and formal consultation once the funding position becomes clearer.
The engagement report, alongside information about future plans for public consultation will be shared with Durham County Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee at their meeting in October 2019.
If you have any queries please contact:
0191 389 8600