Responding to the publication of the Public Accounts Committee’s report on NHS efficiency savings, John Appleby, Chief Economist at The King’s Fund said:
‘Today’s report follows hard on the heels of other recent select committee reports in calling for fundamental changes in health and social care.
‘While the NHS has coped well up to now, our feedback suggests that the financial squeeze is beginning to have an impact on quality and access to services in some parts of the country. Efficiencies are becoming harder to deliver as one-off savings such as cuts in management costs start to slow. Pay restraint and holding down prices paid to hospitals are no substitute for delivering genuine productivity improvements.
‘As the report points out, major changes to hospital services are needed to improve the quality of care and increase financial sustainability, yet the decision-making process remains complex and is often undermined by resistance to change, even when a strong clinical and financial case for change has been made. We echo the Committee’s concern about the lack of strategic responsibility in the new health system for leading large scale reorganisations of services and the adverse impact this could have on attempts to improve the quality of care to patients.
‘The NHS and social care face huge challenges - addressing financial pressures and improving quality of care in the short term, and meeting the challenges posed by demographic change and changing health needs in the long term. This demands new thinking and radical changes to services.’
Notes to editors:
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