NHS on track to deliver savings to reinvest in care

Published on Thursday, 22 December 2011 12:36
Posted by Scott Buckler

The official report on NHS performance shows the NHS is on track to deliver up to £5.9bn savings this financial year whilst maintaining or improving quality of services. Every penny saved will be reinvested in patient care

The Quarter 2 report, published today, shows that of the eight key quality areas highlighted, all have been maintained or improved. In particular the NHS has reduced MRSA and C. difficile infection rates as well as driving down breach rates for mixed sex accommodation.

The report shows the NHS continued to perform strongly between July and September 2011 as it begins to deliver local plans to meet the pressures of an ageing population and the rising costs of drugs and treatments. The NHS needs to save up to £20 billion from within its budget by 2015 to meet these challenges.

Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) estimate they can achieve £5.9 billion savings this financial year – and so far have delivered £2.5 billion savings in the first six months of the efficiency challenge. This means the NHS is broadly on track to deliver the efficiency savings it needs – an improvement on the £4.3 billion of efficiency savings which the Audit Commission found that the NHS already achieved last year.
The local NHS has developed plans to improve quality that will gradually see more innovative care provided closer to home and more patients in control of their own care.

Examples where the NHS has improved services for patients and achieved efficiencies include:

• South East Essex Community Healthcare piloted a 24/7 home nursing service for children and young people with difficult to manage asthma. The initial findings suggest this has helped young people and their families to manage their condition without attending hospital, has reduced the number of A&E; attendances by almost 50 per cent and hospital admissions by 30 per cent among the target group.
• Community teams in Kirklees developed individual care plans for frequent ambulance callers. These can be accessed by ambulance crews and emergency care clinicians. Community matrons worked with care home staff to help them deal with the individual’s underlying health problems – contributing to a reduction in 999 calls by care homes. Patients received better quality of care and there was a 70 per cent reduction in A&E; attendances from this group.

The Quarter also highlights those trusts which are the poorest performers on waiting times – making clear they must improve. This is part of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s plans to root out poor performance by focusing on NHS organisations that are letting patients down.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:

“I am committed to the NHS and to services for patients – one that is free at the point of use. That’s why there will be a £12.5 billion increase in funding over the next four years, including £4.1bn in 2011/12. But even with this, we know the NHS must be more efficient to meet the pressures of an ageing population and the rising costs of drugs and treatments.

“We know that despite the increase in funding, the NHS needs to save up to £20 billion from within its budget to meet these future challenges. Where the NHS can do things better and save money to reinvest in patient care, it must do so. We are already seeing the results – this report shows the NHS has achieved £2.5 billion savings so far while keeping waiting times low, performing more tests, and reducing infections even further.
“We are absolutely clear that this does not mean cutting services - this means getting better value for every pound spent in the NHS so that it can continue to improve and deliver better services for patients every day.”

Deputy Chief Executive of the NHS David Flory said:

“The NHS is in the early stages of its plans to deliver up to £20bn of efficiency savings by 2014/15 whilst maintaining or improving quality. The results from the second quarter of 2011/12 are encouraging, showing the NHS continues to deliver strongly for patients while maintaining a healthy financial position.
“But we know that the NHS faces unprecedented challenges with an ageing population and the rising costs of complex technology and medicines.
“The winter period represents an annual challenge and it is vital that the NHS plans and prepares for this so that it continues to provide high quality care, while ensuring we maintain strong financial control.”

Headlines from today’s report include:

• MRSA infections were 33 percent lower than during the same quarter last year and similarly C.difficile infections were 16 percent lower.
• Access to services continued to be maintained with the NHS delivering above the NHS constitutional commitment to treatment within 18 weeks of treatment for 90 percent of admitted patients and 95 percent of non admitted services.
• The number of breaches of mixed-sex sleeping accommodation also continued to decrease with a breach rate of 0.7 per 1,000 episodes.
• A&E; standards and Ambulance response time standards were delivered.
• The NHS has continued to deliver against key cancer standards with all eight measures being met in quarter 2.

The report published today sets out NHS quality and financial performance between July and September 2011, showing that the NHS is predicting a year-end surplus of about £1.2 billion for 2011/12. For those individual NHS organisations in a weaker financial position, the report sends a strong message that this needs to improve.


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