The NHS have been warned it must save up to £10billion a year by cutting down on expensive agency staff and selling off land.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has told NHS managers they need to spend money more efficiently to ensure the service is sustainable and improve frontline care.
In a speech to the think-tank, The King’s Fund, he set out measures that could save up to 10billion a year by 2020. ‘If we are to be truly financially sustainable we need to rethink how we spend money in a much more fundamental way,’ he said.
Mr Hunt said reducing ‘avoidable harm’ to patients will save £2.5billion from the cost of further treatment and negligence claims, while minimising prescription errors could save £551million.
Better acquisition of goods and services could also deliver £1.5billion of savings on the £15billion annual NHS procurement budget by next year.
He insisted that private agency staff bills – which had increased by £1billion to almost £2.5billion must come down, while NHS trusts will also be challenged to sell off surplus lands and estates.
The total value of surplus NHS estate is estimated to be worth £1.5billion in London alone.
The Health Secretary has also restated his determination to claw back money from ‘health tourists’ – visitors and migrants who access non-emergency care.
* Thousands of cancer patients could lose out under new plans to axe drugs deemed too expensive for the NHS.
A list of 25 drugs – which includes six breast cancer drugs and Jetvana used in prostrate cancer – has been posted for ‘re-evaluation’ next month by the Cancer Drugs Fund, with a decision due in the New Year.
Existing patients would continue to be treated, but new patients may have to appeal to get drugs that are currently approved.