The group which runs NHS services is being asked make £17million of savings, with some worried patients will be in the firing line.
Enfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for selecting healthcare providers including at hospitals such as North Middlesex, has been under “legal direction” – special government measures – since August 2015.
This is so cuts can be made in order to bring the running of Enfield healthcare within budget, and a “Director of Recovery” has been appointed.
Answering public questions last month, the CCG board said it is on target to reduce the spending, with a plan for a first round of savings in place, but it did not say where these will be made.
The board said the group had previously been given a savings target of £9.9m, but this has been raised to £17.1m.
They said: “NHS England is using formal powers laid out in legislation. It can use these powers of direction if it is satisfied that a CCG is failing or is at risk of failing to discharge its functions.
“The CCG is now required to produce a plan for further discussion with NHS England. The plan is still under development.
“It will also consider what is appropriate for health funding and areas where services are provided in both acute and community settings. No decisions have been made as yet.”
Monty Meth, head of the Enfield Over 50s Forum, has said he is worried free prescriptions will be the first things to go if the cuts are made.
He said: “The Forum is objecting to this so-called recovery plan, because they are directed at the poorest and most vulnerable people in the borough.
“The decisions were introduced without any prior consultation with patient groups and the CCG Board did say as a result of our protest that they would go back and revise their guidance to GPs but we have not seen it as yet.”
A spokesman for NHS England said: “For a significant period, Enfield Clinical Commissioning Group has faced financial challenges and we are continuing to support them through the formal powers of direction. These powers allow us to guide the CCG to bring about the financial balance needed.”