The NHS cannot escape its financial crisis without more money – Richard Vize

Two documents released in the last few days reveal both the severity of the NHS’s financial crisis and why it cannot find a way out.

In a briefing prepared for Sarah Wollaston’s health select committee, NHS England revealed more of the detail behind the £22bn of efficiency savings the health service is supposed to make by 2020-21 to tackle the growing gap between funding and demand.

It said that around £7bn of this will be achieved nationally, such as through pay restraint, leaving £15bn to be found locally. Out of this, £9bn is supposed to come from providers. The Five Year Forward View spelt out the enormity of this task, with providers needing to improve their efficiency by 2% every year – impressive compared with the NHS’s own history, the rest of the UK economy and other countries’ health systems.

Key to achieving this was investing in new models of care, and less efficient providers catching up with the best.

But, as the Health Foundation pointed out, the NHS delivered just £1bn of savings last year, which means it is already a long way off target barely 18 months after the Forward View was published.

Full story in The Guardian 13 May 2016