Commenting on The Health Foundation’s report Hospital finances and productivity: in a critical condition?, published today and which underlines the challenges facing NHS finances, Rob Webster, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“There is strong support for the Five Year Forward View analysis that shows the NHS needs at least an extra £8 billion a year above inflation by 2020. We are calling on all political parties to commit to this and the service changes that the NHS will need to make to deliver a further £22bn of efficiency savings, requiring productivity improvements of 2-3% a year.
“This is a daunting task, confirmed by this timely report from The Health Foundation. The report makes clear that investing in extra staff to boost quality and safety comes at a price. It underlines that the NHS requires a new focus on “allocative” efficiencies – by doing things in new ways that are better, simpler and more cost effective. It is vital that the public are involved in this conversation.
“If we are to succeed, the political parties must be straight with the public about the huge scale of the savings and increases in productivity required over the next parliament, even with extra investment. It means we will need to fundamentally change the way we provide care for millions of patients which itself will require funds for double running services and investment in estates, IT and innovation.
“The Health Foundation report states that there needs to be much less focus on individual organisations’ performance, and much more on looking at the health system. The NHS Confederation, which represents more than 500 NHS organisations, agrees that no individual NHS organisation can operate in isolation. Our members across the country are already working more closely with other organisations and sectors in their communities, not least local government. The next Government will need to better enable local organisations to take this approach by providing longer term settlements, stabilising social care and improving the regulatory and performance systems to focus more on outcomes for local people.”