Health chiefs in Brighton and Hove have been told to find savings totalling £8 million in the current financial year.
This is more than five per cent of the Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) annual budget of £425 million.
The figures were spelt out at the CCG’s annual general meeting (AGM) this week.
The CCG is responsible for planning and buying health and wellbeing services for people living in Brighton and Hove.
Almost half the annual budget is spent on acute services, mainly services provided in hospitals in Brighton or elsewhere in Sussex.
CCG chief executive Adam Doyle said that the NHS faced significant challenges and financial pressure.
He said: “Money is key. We have to hit our financial control targets. We have to live within our means.”
In the past financial year – to the end of March – the CCG recorded a £2.6 million surplus after making £14 million in savings.
This was achieved by cutting waste and working with neighbouring CCGs to improve efficiency.
Mr Doyle told the AGM that some of the challenges facing the CCG result from having a relatively young population in the city – much younger than the average for England – and a large number of visitors.
He said that the CCG had to be prepared for the ‘right care and health responses’ for visitors.
Brighton and Hove also has to deal with a large proportion of the population who are old and living longer, as well as areas of deprivation.
With about £192 million spent on hospital care last year, Mr Doyle said that the CCG had looked at why people go to A&E. In response it introduced a 24-hour mental health service based at A&E to help people in distress.
He added that more doctors’ appointments were being made available at evenings and weekends.
The CCG’s clinical chair Dr David Supple said: “We are making progress. There are successes, which are important, but we must not underplay the challenges ahead that we’re going to build on.”