The NHS needs a sustainable long term financial regime

11 December 2017

Commenting on the current overall state of the NHS provider sector in light of today’s media coverage, the chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson said:

 

“NHS Providers has consistently argued for more than two years that there is a clear gap between what trusts are being asked to deliver and the funding available.

“Given this context, the provider sector has performed extremely well to stabilise provider finances, start reducing the sector deficit and consistently realise record levels of cost improvement gains. For example, whilst the economy as a whole has recently been realising annual efficiency gains of 0.2% and the long run NHS average is 1%, between 2012 and 2016 the NHS was improving efficiency by 1.7% a year.

“But we all know that the current financial situation is not sustainable. As the National Audit Office has consistently argued, trusts are having to transfer much needed capital to revenue, sell land and other assets and rely on accounting adjustments and large amounts of non recurrent savings to balance their books day to day.

“Trusts need three things.

“First, we need a long term answer to NHS and social care finances that sustainably matches the funding available to what the NHS is being asked to deliver.

We need a long term answer to NHS and social care finances that sustainably matches the funding available to what the NHS is being asked to deliver.

“Second, trusts need a deliverable day to day task. Asking trusts to deliver annual savings in excess of 5%, year in year out, is impossible, risks the quality of patient care and places an intolerable burden on staff. As Jim Mackey, the departing NHS Improvement CEO has pointed out, the control total regime was always designed to be a short term stabilisation measure. We now need the new NHS Improvement senior leadership team to design a sustainable long term financial regime.

“Third, trusts need a fair, proportionate and supportive regulatory regime with a clear framework and proper support with regulatory intervention always used as a last resort”.

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