NHS trusts account for £65 billion of the £110 billion spent by the NHS. They employ more than 1.1 million of its 1.2 million staff. They interact with more than 5 million patients and service users a week. They are, in short, the backbone of the NHS, providing the vast majority of its complex care. In the minds of patients, the media and politicians, the success of the NHS is significantly defined by the success of the provider sector.
It is therefore appropriate to create, for the first time, what we hope will be a valuable commentary on this vital sector – providing a view of how the sector is performing, identifying the challenges it faces and the successes we should be celebrating while also setting out what more support is needed. We intend to produce this report on a regular basis, as a way of tracking the performance of trusts over time.
The report is a unique combination of our own policy analysis and commentary, published data and, most importantly, the views of the chairs and chief executives who run hospital, mental health, community and ambulance services in England. It is they who are responsible for ensuring their trusts are providing outstanding patient care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and they who are best placed to identify key trends in the sector.
The report covers the issues chairs and chief executives tell us concern them most – performance on quality, waiting times and finances; ensuring trusts have the right number, quality and mix of staff to deliver high quality care; and how trusts are delivering much needed transformation.
We are grateful to the chairs and chief executives from the 136 trusts who took the time to complete the survey and provide their views. The report would not be possible without them, and we hope our report does justice to their contributions.
Chief Executive, NHS Providers