NHS chiefs warn of impact of social care cuts

3 Jun 15

A poll of more than 300 NHS chief executives has found that nearly all believe that reductions in social care funding are leading to increased pressures on the health service.

The poll of 313 senior managers across organisations including hospital trusts, Clinical Commissioning Groups and Commissioning Support Units, also found over two-thirds (71%) agreed with the statement that the current financial pressures were ‘the worst they have ever experienced’.

Almost all of those surveyed (91%) for the NHS Confederation’s annual conference, which gets underway in Liverpool today, said financial pressures had worsened in the last year.

Overall, 99% of those surveyed agreed that ‘cuts to social care funding are putting increasing pressures on the NHS as a whole’, while 92% stated it was specifically increasing pressures in their own organisation.

Although a majority of the chiefs surveyed (94%) said that they also expect funding pressures to increase in the next 12 months, a majority (55%) also felt they were either fairly or very confident their organisation would meet its savings targets. A smaller majority (53%) also agreed their organisation will be able to break even in the next year.

Publishing the poll results at the start of the confederation’s annual conference, chief executive Rob Webster said that the government must address the headline messages, and back delivery of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View integration plans.

“The NHS continues to deliver high quality care in very challenging circumstances,” he said.

“Over the last five years rising demand has been relentless and funding limited. This has required unprecedented levels of efficiency, with almost £19bn saved by the NHS during this period. In many parts of the country our members are now implementing new models of care which better meet the health needs of the 21st century. We must be supported by the system as we do more.

“Over the course of our conference, we have the opportunity to galvanise the NHS and care system behind the Five Year Forward View and to build confidence in the future. That will require the right contribution from politicians, national bodies and front line leaders across the system.”

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