NHS mandate confirms additional commitments for NHS

20 March 2017


The Department of Health has published the government’s mandate to NHS England for 2017/18.

The mandate to NHS England sets out the government’s objectives for NHS England, as well as its budget.

The mandate for the next year seeks to reach a 95% A&E target by the end of 2018. NHS Providers questions under current demand and financial pressures whether this target can be met.

Responding to the document, the chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said:

“In our report, Mission Impossible? The NHS provider ask in 2017/18, we explain why - without additional support - the health service’s commitments for the coming year are well beyond reach. The NHS mandate confirms these obligations are being extended, even as it’s struggling to cope with unprecedented demand and severe financial constraints.


The NHS mandate confirms obligations are being extended, even as the health service is struggling to cope with unprecedented demand and severe financial constraints.


“In particular our report highlights the added burden of recovering the four hour A & E wait and 18 week surgery targets, and calls for more realistic trajectories. We therefore welcome the more measured language around the A & E target that appears in the mandate, projecting a longer timetable to reach the 95% standard by the end of 2018. It remains to be seen, given current pressures, whether this timetable can be met. It is disappointing that a similar approach to the 18 week target appears not to have been adopted.

“Taken together with the other commitments set out in the document, the gap between demands on the health service and the resources available in the coming year remains unbridgeable. We maintain that just stabilising the deterioration in performance would be an achievement in itself. We estimate that this year NHS trusts are on course to have a collective deficit of £800 - £900 million pounds. Given the pressures the health service faces, just reproducing that financial performance would be a stretching target.”


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