The NHS in north-west London outlined its financial recovery plan after forecasting an additional deficit of more than £61 million.

Representatives from the region’s clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) told a special Brent Council scrutiny committee that they would have to “rethink” the way things work to tackle this loss.

Mark Easton, accountable officer for the eight CCGs in north-west London, explained that, at present, the system is clearly “overheating”.

He added there will not be a loss of services nor care and in “most” cases there will not be a detrimental impact on patients.

But the bodies several schemes in place to make the necessary savings including reduced spending on over the counter medicine prescriptions, renegotiating the cost of patient transport and a review of home oxygen procurement.

“We have a responsibility to provide quality and safety and we won’t do anything to jeopardise that,” Mr Easton said.

“We are looking at what we can sensibly do, in the patients’ interests, to see if there are any alternatives.”

The £61.6 million deficit predicted in September is on top of a £50.9 million deficit target permitted by regulators.

Several local politicians spoke at the meeting to voice their concerns about what the changes could mean for their constituents.

Cllr Mary Daly, of Sudbury ward, said there are already “serious” issues in Brent when it comes to health services and that “too many people live in stress, fear and hunger”.

And Brent Central MP Dawn Butler sent a letter to the committee described the financial recovery plan as “coded language for cuts”.

She suggested Brent should be in line for more investment, not savings, and urged health officials to consult fully with elected representatives and the public.

Local CCGs are in the process of transforming walk-in centres to other services such as appointment-only surgeries.

And the urgent care centre at Central Middlesex Hospital has seen its hours reduced as part of cost-cutting measures.

But Mr Easton assured the committee that patient safety remains the priority, the local NHS simply needs to address the higher demand for services which is currently outstripping resources.