It is no secret that all parts of the NHS in Northamptonshire are facing an ever more difficult task in providing care to a growing number of patients at a time of increasing financial pressures.
The number of people over 65, who generally need most care, is growing rapidly.
Hospital workloads, particularly in accident and emergency departments, continue to grow.
There are difficulties recruiting appropriate staff in some areas.
And GP surgeries are busier than ever before.
All this at a time when savings of about 20 per cent are needed by 2014-15.
These are unprecedented times, which may call for unprecedented solutions.
Healthier Northamptonshire has six months to look at all these issues and come up with a plan to ensure that we maintain the very best healthcare possible, at a cost we can afford.
Those in charge of the project will be looking at all options, and that includes the kind of services provided at the county’s two district hospitals.
An awful lot of money has to be saved, which means it is likely that a lot will have to change in the county.
Some of the cures for the current ailments within the system in the county may not be palatable to everyone, but doing nothing is not an option.
It is time to grasp the nettle.
Neil Pickford, Editor