NHS providers need to carry on improving their finances and services if patients are to receive quality care in the future, says England’s new health regulator.
Analysis of NHS providers’ operational and financial performance shows the sector as a whole made £741million in efficiency savings between April and December 2015. The analysis also shows that NHS providers treated 5.12 million emergency patients between October and December 2015.
However, NHS providers are under sustained pressure from an increase in demand for care, issues with discharging medically fit patients, and high costs. As a result, many providers missed several national waiting times standards, such as the A&E performance measure, in the last 3 months of 2015. In addition, the sector as a whole reported a deficit of £2.26 billion in the 9 months to the end of December 2015.
New measures developed with providers by Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA) to help organisations get a better grip on their finances are starting to have a positive impact. Many providers are beginning to use them effectively to arrest a previous rise in the use of costly agency staff, and reduced by £31 million the sector’s overall spending on management consultants.
Jim Mackey, Chief Executive Designate of NHS Improvement, said:
“This performance will be very disappointing for providers, and shows the range of difficulties they’re facing. Despite this, providers are making progress on improving their finances whilst also providing more treatment, to more patients with more complex care needs than ever before. However, further improvements will be required by the whole NHS at pace and scale to tackle the current financial and operational challenges it faces.
At NHS improvement, we intend to work with the providers to identify improvement opportunities, both recognising strong performers and supporting those who are struggling.”