NHS staff and patients remain unsure about the Government’s long term plans for the service, despite new spending commitments announced yesterday, experts say.
Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget statement, which Labour attacked for only making passing mention of the NHS, the Nuffield Trust think-tank said the service still had “no certainty about wider funding plans up to 2020”.
While the Budget did confirm £1.25bn in investment over the next five years to improve children’s mental health services there was little detail on how a funding “black hole” predicted by 2020 would be filled.
Experts project the NHS is facing a £30bn funding gap by the end of the decade unless spending increases and the health service becomes more efficient.
NHS England’s chief executive, Simon Stevens, has indicated that the health service will need an extra £8bn a year by 2020 to close the gap. Even that figure is based on the assumption that the service can make £22bn of efficieny savings in the next five years.
Rob Webster, head of the NHS Confederation, said cuts to social care were having knock-on effects on the health service. “Social care is on its knees and the NHS is feeling the pain,” he said.
Cooper. C 2015 The Independent Daily Briefing 19/03/2015 P. 9
“Mr Osborne, on the run-in to a general election, would be shouting from the roof-tops if he had a panacea for our health and social care system. He does not, and it will carry on in an appalling state and probably get much worse.”
Most national media sources this week have run the story of how a “totally shocking” report by one of the country’s most respected businessmen into how the NHS is run was handed into the Department of Health before Christmas – but has still not been published by the Government.
The withering assessment of NHS management by the Conservative peer Lord Rose, who is credited with turning around the fortunes of Marks & Spencer, is understood to paint a damaging picture of a culture in which mediocre managers can move around within the NHS without being held to account, while those who are successful go unrewarded.
Lord Rose was appointed to carry out the review in February last year by Jeremy hunt, the Health Secretary.
One person who has seen the report told the Financial Times that Lord Rose, now chairman of online supermarket Ocado, had found the overall standard of much NHS management to be “totally shocking”.
Labour called for the report to be published before the election. The Department of Health said the Government would be releasing the findings “in due course”.
Green. C 2015 The Independent 18/02/2015 P. 6
“It seems our NHS is beyond saving and will be unrecognisable “in due course”. “