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Bedfordshire CCG reports £43.2m deficit

The Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group has announced a final end of year deficit for 2014/15 of £43.2m.

BCCG reports £43.2m deficit for 2014/15. Credit: PA Images

The CCG also outlined initial proposals for taking the CCG out of deficit and returning it to a position where it can commission sustainable health services for Bedfordshire patients.

“The work we have carried out over the past few months shows that the quality of the healthcare we commission is good and in many places excellent.

“We are also fortunate as a CCG in that we have received a major boost in our funding for the current financial year - 2015/16 which gives us an extra £30m to spend on Bedfordshire patients and will help to fund increasing demand.

“However, detailed analysis of our accounts has revealed fundamental weaknesses in the way we operate as healthcare commissioners, which we must put right if we are to commission sustainable health services for local people.

“This is about becoming a more efficient and effective organisation; it is not about cutting services in Bedfordshire. We continue to be a clinical commissioning group and any changes to the services we commission will be clinically-led.

“Change won’t happen overnight but by the autumn we must be working in a very different way.”

– Accountable officer, Nick Robinson

BCCG has identified six areas of the organisation that need significantly strengthening, these are: leadership skills, business intelligence and data gathering, governance processes, strategy and planning, financial controls and performance management of its staff and healthcare providers.

The clinical commissioning group says it has already begun to address most of these issues. It has done the following...

  • Taken on considerable leadership expertise appointing a full-time, interim accountable officer and chief finance officer.
  • Strengthened its Governing Body with an additional non-executive director with extensive financial expertise.
  • Developed the Governing Body’s Finance Committee which now meets monthly to scrutinise the progress of the CCG’s recovery plan.
  • Bought in business intelligence and contract management support from NHS South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit.

The CCG first reported that it was likely to record a large deficit in November 2014 and in the succeeding months it became clear that this deficit was far larger and more complex than originally believed.

In particular, it emerged that not all of this deficit could be attributed to 2014/15 but should have been reported in the previous financial year.

As a result BCCG has restated its accounts for 2013/14. It is now recording a deficit of £12.7m for 2013/14 and a deficit of £30.5m for 2014/15, making a cumulative deficit of £43.2m.

Tinnitus charity awarded £134k lottery grant

Hundreds of people with tinnitus, including those in Norwich, will soon be able to access more information on the condition thanks to a Big Lottery Fund grant.

British Tinnitus Association Credit: BTA

The British Tinnitus Association (BTA) has received £134,039 from the fund's Reaching Communities programme to hold one-day information events which will help sufferers cope better with the condition.

Tinnitus is a noise such as a ringing or buzzing that an individual experiences without an external source and can often lead to stress, anxiety or sometimes depression.

The events, which will take place in nine cities including Norwich, aim to reduce stress, confusion, isolation and improve well-being.

"We're delighted to have received this superb award from the Big Lottery Fund.

"Through our regional Tinnitus Information Days, over a thousand people will benefit from increased knowledge of tinnitus and how to manage the condition as well as from improved local support.

"Isolation, depression and anxiety often affect people with tinnitus; these events will help equip people to cope with their tinnitus better and have an improved quality of life thanks to this Big Lottery Fund award and the work of the British Tinnitus Association."

– David Stockdale, chief executive of the BTA

Could a new computer programme tell us if babies will grow up obese

A computer programme developed in Cambridge could help identify babies at higher risk of becoming obese in later life.

It's being used in a study, led by Anglia Ruskin University, which asks parents about their own weight and lifestyle.

Some could then be offered advice on keeping their children at a healthy weight.

Click below to watch ITV News Anglia's Claire McGlasson's report.

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Scientists at the UEA study the purpose of men

It seems every day scientists are coming up with new insights into human behaviour.

So how about this from those working at the University of East Anglia?

They're looking at the controversial issue of whether men serve any useful purpose at all.

It is research that is bound to provoke quite a response.

ITV News Anglia's Malcolm Robertson went in search of answers. Click below to watch his report.

What's the point of men? scientists find the answer studying beetles

Beetles used to study the purpose of men Credit: ITV News Anglia

New research from the University of East Anglia looking at the sexual habits of beetles has come up with a conclusion to the existence of men.

Scientists were looking at the reasons why men haven't become extinct, given that their only contribution to reproduction is sperm.

The study found that rather than evolving to have an asexual population of women who reproduce only daughters - having men who have to compete to find a mate leads to a healthier population and better gene pool.

The study found that male beetles which didn't have to compete to find a mate became extinct after 10 generations.

So what is the point of men ? we spoke to people on Norwich Market to find out.

Click below to watch a short clip.

UEA scientists say they've worked out why men exist by studying beetles.

Tribolium flour beetles Credit: UEA

Scientists at the University of East Anglia say they've worked out why men exist, by studying the habits of beetles.

Biologists have long puzzled over why males have survived given that their only contribution to reproduction is sperm.

In evolutionary terms, scientists say it makes more sense to have an all-female asexual population which creates daughters who can reproduce rather than sons who can not.

But new research suggests that sexual competition for mates keeps the population healthy and free of disease, keeping it genetically diverse.

Scientists studied a colony of Tribolium flour beetles and watched them evolve for 10 years under controlled laboratory conditions.

In some groups 90 beetles had to compete for the affections of 10 females, while in others females far outnumbered the males.

After 7 years or 50 generations of the beetles, researchers found that males who had competed the most for female attention were fitter and more resistant to disease and inbreeding.

In contrast beetles without sexual selection became extinct after 10 generations.

"These results show that sexual selection is important for population health and persistence, because it helps to purge negative and maintain positive genetic variation in a population. To be good at out-competing rivals and attracting partners in the struggle to reproduce, an individual has to be good at most things, so sexual selection provides an important and effective filter to maintain and improve population genetic health."

– Prof Matt Gage, UEA

The research has been published in the Journal of Nature called 'Sexual selection protects against extinction'.

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