Sweeping changes to NHS payments could lead to a £12.8 million cut in income for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Executives at the Steelhouse Lane hospital disclosed the figure as part of early work on the proposed reductions to top-up payments by the Government.
Discussions are ongoing meaning that final income figures have not yet been set in stone.
Top up payments are given to children’s hospitals to reflect the extra cost they must spend on providing more specialised care for young patients.
But despite a pledge to protect NHS spending, the Department of Health plans to reduce these payments from 78 per cent to 25 per cent.
At the moment, the 35 centres nationwide providing specialist children’s services received 78 per cent more than the standard payment to general hospitals treating adults at a lower cost, but this will be reduced to just 25 per cent more if the move goes ahead.
It has emerged that there is a total of £70 million at risk for all children’s hospitals and Great Ormond Street alone could lose £16 million in the cutbacks.
Rob Checketts, spokesman for Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said early figures showed there could be up to a £12.8 million loss to income.
“The four specialist children’s hospitals in the Children’s Alliance are working closely and constructively with the Department of Health to ensure that the additional costs of providing specialised children’s services is recognised in the NHS payment system,” said Mr Checketts.
David Melbourne, chief financial officer at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, added that the foundation trust has been making efficiencies in the past year which would set it in good stead for any cutbacks.
This has included making back office functions in departments from finance and IT to human resources better value for money.
One the savings includes a buying in a new finance and purchasing system that will reduce the amount of paperwork managers and front-line staff have to complete and will save the Trust £600,000 over the next five years.
“Right across the NHS it is acknowledged that there are savings that can be made by doing things more effectively or in partnership with other organisations,” said Mr Melbourne.
“We are currently looking at a range of opportunities across our back office facilities to be able to both provide services to frontline staff more effectively and to release money to re-invest in front-line patient care.”
The trust has also been looking at new ways in which it can provide care in the community, which has been traditionally only delivered from a hospital.
Birmingham Children’s Hospital launched West Midlands Paediatric Retrieval Service last year, which transports young patients in a mobile intensive care unit to the nearest available paediatric intensive care bed.
In the first year alone, the service has helped more than 500 children who have been critically ill.
The trust is also exploring providing some elements of hospital care in a patient’s home where suitable.
In order to address high capacity issues, hospital workers are now developing a service to help GPs identify which patients need to come into hospital or could be treated in the community or at other clinics more appropriately.
This service could reduce the amount time patients have to wait for a referral as well as reducing some of the unnecessary costs currently met by the NHS by not managing some referrals effectively.