Efficiency savings will push NHS to breaking point

In the report the Health Select Committee said that \”The health settlement represents a significant challenge to the NHS, requiring efficiency savings on an unprecedented scale. It is vital that these savings are made by efficiency gains rather than making cuts. Unfortunately, we do not believe that the Government is providing a clear enough narrative on its vision of how these savings are to be made. The evidence submitted to us, including the evidence submitted by the Government itself, does not allow us to agree. Councils will need to sustain further efficiency savings of up to 3.5% per annum to avoid reducing their levels of care, and this will not be easy. It is not enough for the Government to exhort change in this area: there must be a formal policy infrastructure that recognises the importance of achieving a better overall interface between the two sectors’’.

However the Department of Health responded by saying \”The Government is committed to the NHS – to sustain and to improve services in the face of a tough economic climate. But even with this commitment, in order to meet demand and improve the quality of services, the NHS needs to make up to £20 billion of efficiency savings by 2015. Reform isn\’t an option, it\’s a necessity in order to sustain and improve our NHS. We have been clear that the NHS must cut back on bureaucracy, not on frontline care.\”

Stephen Dorrell, a Conservative MP said that \”The Government\’s plans for health and social care are based on assumptions which will test these services to the limit. There is no precedent for efficiency gain on this scale in the history of the National Health Service, nor has any precedent yet been found of any healthcare system anywhere in the world doing anything similar.\”

Earlier National Health Service (NHS) bosses warned that the Coalition Governments plans to drastically reform the Health system in the United Kingdom are proceeding at a dangerous pace and the system could ‘’implode’’ over the pace of the Governments reform plans. Earlier in the year the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, announced radical changes to the way the National Health Service will operate in the future with; all 10 Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) abolished, all 152 Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) abolished, patients given more performance related information by a new body called HealthWatch, all NHS Trusts achieve Foundation Status by 2013 and General Practitioners (GPs) given responsibility for managing hospital, mental health & community services.

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