NHS bosses in Sheffield have outlined a host of projects to help pensioners, disabled and minority groups at a cost of £6.5 million over the coming year.
The investment, to take place by Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, the NHS’s guardian of spending in Sheffield, aims to ‘improve quality of services and reduce health inequalities’.
Funding will come from money saved by implementing a four per cent efficiency saving to contracts.
The biggest investment will be £3.1 million to reduce the number of elderly and disabled people needing to spend time in hospital or travelling to outpatient departments.
Instead, better community services are to be developed.
Health bosses admit further work is needed on the plan, however, with the Commissioning Group saying: “We need to define and specify in more detail what services will no longer be provided in hospital.”
But Nick Howard, of Sheffield Pensioners’ Action Group, raised concern about how services are being provided outside hospitals.
Mr Howard, aged 79, from Norfolk Park, who is currently being treated for a serious bone marrow disorder, said: “I am very dubious about some of these changes. Many efficiency savings are being made by taking away funding from well-run services in hospitals - which is then being spent on private providers.
“I have noticed recently how if I need a subsidiary service, it is no longer available in hospital or with my GP. I have had a back problem and need a physiotherapist, which used to be available very quickly at the doctors, but now I have to go to a centre at Heeley retail park and cannot be seen until August.”
Other plans involve £700,000 to improve the autism diagnosis and post diagnosis services, and reduce waiting for speech therapy.
Meanwhile, six-monthly care reviews will be brought in for stroke patients, and unspecified new mental health services will be commissioned for long-term physical problems.
Just over half a million pounds will be used for better care for people with learning difficulties.
A smaller sum of £65,000 will be used to increase capacity of community support for cancer patients.
Sheffield’s Eastern European communities are to be targeted with Hepatitis B and TB screening and testing, at a cost of £120,000.
Work to train community members to ‘improve health and wellbeing’ is to take place at a cost of £300,000, particularly in poorer areas with lower life expectancy.