Funding gap is unsustainable: NHS Providers calls for honesty and realism

19 July 2016

The report, Impact of the Spending Review on health and social care, welcomes the Five year forward view, and highlights the huge funding challenge being faced across health and social care.  Deficits being faced by NHS providers are acknowledged, with a warning that the strategies that are being proposed to cut the deficits, such as reduction in the tariff and agency price caps are not sustainable solutions. Cuts to social care are also highlighted, with recognition that there will be an inevitable impact on the NHS as people are unable to access the care that they need.

Commenting on the report, Saffron Cordery, director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, said:

 “This report from the Health Select Committee illustrates that there is a clear gap between the quality of care we all want the NHS to provide and the funding available. This is unsustainable for NHS trusts. They are already straining every sinew but are being asked to deliver the impossible. We need honesty and realism about the task in hand. 

 “The report adds to existing evidence supporting the view that systemic issues, not mismanagement, are causing NHS trusts to fall into deficit.  This pressure, coupled with spiralling demand, rising costs and growing deficits mean that NHS provider leaders are working flat out just to keep the service afloat. It is not a feasible strategy to just keep asking people to work even harder as finances are set to become even tighter in future.

 “In addition, the report highlights that the reductions in social care funding have removed any capacity for further efficiencies.  The extricable link between social care and healthcare means that cuts to social care inevitably impact on the NHS.  Transforming services is the only way we can stand a chance of sustaining the levels of health and care that the public is entitled to expect.

 “The report echoes messages from our recent survey with the Healthcare Financial Managers Association which found that the Government’s commitment to deliver parity of esteem between mental and physical health services is not being achieved as funding is currently not reaching all frontline NHS trusts. We welcome the Health Select Committee's commitment to maintaining a focus on this important issue.”