Long-term plan must be an opportunity to recover NHS finances
19 December 2018
- The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has published a report on the Department of Health and Social Care accounts 2017/18.
- It shows that in 2017-18, 101 of 234 of NHS providers were in deficit but this was largely off-set by a surplus in NHS England’s finances.
- It also calls for urgent action on the risks Brexit poses to recruitment and the supply of medical equipment.
Responding the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said:
“Going into winter the pressures on the health and care system remain crystal clear. The NHS is entering its busiest time of year with record levels of demand for emergency care, severe workforce shortages and as this report shows a very difficult financial position.
“On Brexit, trusts continue to face the daunting uncertainty of a ‘no deal’, which - despite contingency planning – will affect trusts’ ability to recruit and keep the staff they need, and put at risk supplies of medical equipment and medicines. Greater assurances from DHSC would be welcomed.
We need to move away from the current financial improvement mechanisms which have only widened the gulf between those performing well and those who need much more support.
“On provider finances, although it indicates some improvement in the financial position of the sector, this report rightly identifies the mismatch between the provider sector deficits offset against a surplus in NHS England’s budget. This is unsustainable and, as the report acknowledges, could pose a risk to patient care. We need to move away from the current financial improvement mechanisms which have only widened the gulf between those performing well and those who need much more support.
“On performance, we must set a realistic recovery trajectory against key performance standards for the NHS which is deliverable within the funding settlement and takes into account the current financial position. This must be balanced against other priorities likely to be set out in the forthcoming long-term plan. Patients will rightly expect the service to recover performance with the additional funding.
“The NHS long-term plan should present an opportunity to recover NHS finances. But if it is to deliver, we must also address the crisis in social care with a fully costed plan. As the report acknowledges short-term funding injections for social care will not be enough to tackle the relentless rise in demand for care that is already under way, and will continue for years to come.”