A number of Department of Health and Social Care initiatives in the upcoming financial year will have to be ‘paused or slowed’, says the minister.
This is because the annual funding award the department has received will require Manx Care and the DHSC to prioritse their spend across their systems ‘in order to live within the financial envelope that’s been allocated’.
It includes the development of some new services and the enhancement of existing services in this financial year will either not go ahead or be picked up gradually.
One of these projects is ensuring patients in the island have access to all drugs authorised by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
Health Minister Lawrie Hooper says his department has produced a number of papers and business cases over recent years with the aim of securing the necessary funding to enable the island’s healthcare system to offer all medicines approved via a NICE Technology Appraisal (NICE TA).
‘Most recently a business case submitted to Treasury in 2021 was not approved and no specific funding was allocated to NICE TA in the 2022-23 Pink Book,’ he said.
‘It was anticipated that some of the growth funding awarded to the department in 2022-23 could be used to fund a phased implementation of a NICE TA as part of a multi-year project.
‘In line with the mandate process, funding is not specifically allocated to individual business lines.’
Mr Hooper explained that due to cost pressures across the system and the need to ‘operate within the financial envelope granted by Tynwald’ it has ‘not been possible to utilise the growth funding or savings’ to fund these service enhancements.
Instead, this funding has been needed to stabilise existing service delivery.
A feasibility review also flagged up a number of challenges relating to the equality of access to treatment.
The minister said: ‘Determining a future funding approach remains a key objective for the department and Manx Care. In 2023, MC appointed a lead to work in a NIHCE TA steering group to develop and oversee the implementation of NIHCE TAs.’
He added that while the department will continue to work on this project, it’s unlikely it’ll be able to undertake this in this financial year.