Extra cash needed to avert NHS ‘crisis’

25 Nov 14
The Autumn Statement should provide the NHS with an additional £2bn in funding in order to head off a financial crisis, the King’s Fund has said today.

In a briefing issued ahead of the December 3 statement, the health think-tank argued that the financial settlement for the NHS needed to be re-opened following recent figures that show provider trusts are in deficit by £630m at the midpoint of the year.

This is a significantly worse position than at the end of the first quarter of 2014/15, and it was ‘touch and go’ whether the Department of Health would be able to balance its books this year, King’s Fund chief executive Chris Ham warned.

‘There is scope to improve productivity in the NHS, but this will not be enough to respond to unprecedented pressures on budgets and meet rising demand for services. Recent pledges from the main political parties to increase funding are welcome but it is clear that none of them have yet addressed the scale or the urgency of the financial challenge facing the NHS,’ he added.

‘With deficit reduction still a high priority, finding an additional £2bn in the Autumn Statement is a very big ask. However, unless more money is found, a financial crisis is inevitable next year and patients will bear the cost as waiting times rise and quality of care deteriorates.’

The briefing also called for the creation of an NHS transformation fund to pay for the development of community-based services and the costs of shifting from old to new models of care, such as those envisioned by NHS England’s Five Year Forward View

The King’s Fund’s call for a £2bn cash boost was echoed by NHS Providers, which yesterday issued a statement urging action in the Autumn Statement.

Chief executive Chris Hopson said: ‘We need the coalition to formally commit to extra funding for the NHS in the Autumn Statement.

‘Sixty per cent of acute hospitals are already in deficit half way through this year and the entire NHS provider sector is heading for a financial crisis next year unless the government does something in the Autumn Statement.

‘It may be tempting to think that 11 months of the next financial year are beyond the general election so this is an issue for the next Parliament. But a decision is needed now.’

Extra funding needed to be channelled through the tariff system, Hopson added, so that providers could plan properly and money reached the frontline. The government should also refrain from imposing any further performance targets on the NHS.


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