ST HELENS Clinical Commissioning Group has “turned things around” two years after facing a funding crisis, the organisation's top governor has said.

The CCG’s governing body was informed by its chief finance officer, Iain Stoddart, that the organisation has met the deficit control total of £5 million set by NHS England.

This deficit will be added to the cumulative deficit from 2016-17, making a total of £13.6 million to carry into the next financial year.

However, the financial situation is a stark contrast to that just two years ago, when the CCG proposed halting certain health services due to a lack of funding.

Professor Sarah O’Brien, chief accountable officer, said: “It really is a good news message for the CCG.

“Two years ago, were in all the national press because we were in a mess.

“We have turned that around.”

Prof O’Brien said hitting the target set by NHS England was a “massive achievement”.

She said: “Whilst the underlying position of the CCG still remains in deficit, it has been no mean feat hitting the level set to us by the regulators.

“This is actually a massive achievement, especially when you look where we were two years ago.

“To me what that reflects is hard work, obviously from all the teams, but it reflects that a lot of the learning we had to do a couple of years ago around internal governance, systems and processes, we have got in place now.

“So even though we’ve still got a big financial challenge, I don’t think we could be any more robust as an organisation in terms of the systems and processes and the way the teams work, to meet that.”

The CCG’s chief accountable officer also praised the hard work of all the staff involved in working throughout the year to meet the target.

She said: “We’ve really worked the staff hard, I haven’t taken the pressure off at any point during the year.

“To get to the year-end and to be able to say to the teams, it was worth it, because we’ve landed where NHS England told us we had to land.

“It’s really, really reaffirming for those teams who really have worked quite hard.”

Mr Stoddart, chief finance officer, said the CCG is in a “positive” position going into the new financial year.

He added: “I know from what we’ve delivered, we had financial difficulties through the year, and we’ve managed to recover that.

“It’s a positive position for the CCG, but a lot of the things we’ve done have probably been on a non-recurring basis and we need to see what the underlying position is on our finances moving forward into next year, so that kind of puts a little more pressure into next year.”