Sleepwalking into a financial crisis

Published on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 12:04
Posted by Scott Buckler

Writing in today's Guardian (27 September), the NHS Confederation's Mike Farrar says that, with NHS finances under more strain than ever, there is a "real risk we will sleepwalk into a financial crisis that patients will feel the full force of"

Mike welcomes last week's Government figures of the financial pressures caused by PFI payments, but says: "By far the biggest money problem the NHS is facing is the £20bn of efficiency savings we need to find by 2015, which means our finances are under more strain than ever.

"I am deeply concerned that the gravity of this problem for the NHS is not widely understood by patients and the public. There is a real risk we will sleepwalk into a financial crisis that patients will feel the full force of.

"This could see the NHS forced to salami-slice its way out of financial trouble, cutting services and use of less effective treatments."


He sets out three scenarios:

 

  • The NHS maintains service standards but goes bust while doing so
  • it sees standards slip but maintains financial balance
  • it keeps improving and stays in the black.


"Clearly, we all want the third option," Mike says. "But we will only get there if the NHS can release resources to meet growing demand. This means radically re-orienting services to reduce hospital stays and offering new forms of care. Put bluntly, this means fewer beds and fewer hospital-based jobs."

Source: NHS Confederations

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