Responding to NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Refreshing NHS Plans for 2018/19 document, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“At least this is realistic – to have expected the NHS to deliver more than has been achieved this year would have been to raise expectations and place further burdens on front line care. It will be an immense task just to stabilise the service in the coming financial year.
“The current fragmented system makes things difficult for local leaders who want to act as system leaders but are constrained by organisational regulation. The fact that this guidance recognises the pressures facing both those organisations which commission and those who deliver NHS services is therefore an important and welcome signal for all parts of the NHS.
“But we remain concerned that funding still comes with too many strings attached. We must collectively make sure this money goes where it is needed most – patient care.
“We also fully support the continuing focus on integration across health and social care and the emphasis on the evolution of ‘integrated care systems’. They are not and will not be panaceas, but they are necessary and we will support our members in helping to take this important reform forward.
“While the guidance provides a set of temporary solutions, we repeat our call for the government and the rest of the political class to tackle the long term funding of both health and social care. Nothing less is now acceptable.”