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Press release

The King's Fund responds to pledges from the Conservative Party to boost NHS services in the community

Responding to pledges from the Conservative Party to boost NHS services in the community, Sarah Woolnough, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund said:

‘These pledges indicate a welcome direction of travel. Bolstering primary and community care services is likely to be welcomed by people who would like access to care quickly and conveniently, and is also critical to achieving an effective and sustainable health and care system. A refocusing of the NHS towards primary and community services will free up stretched hospitals to treat the patients they are best placed to treat, thanks to many more people being diagnosed and cared for in the community. This re-focusing can also help diagnose conditions earlier, when treatment is more likely to be successful.

‘To keep pace with increasing demand due to an older and sicker population, the NHS has received additional funding in recent years. But while acute hospital trusts saw 27% funding growth since 2016/17, community trusts saw just half that level of growth, at 14%.

‘Crucially, while the focus of these commitments is good, the funding announced today - £1 billion a year by 2029/2030 – will only deliver limited changes, and must be just a first step if the Conservative Party is serious about implementing this much-needed shift to primary and community health services.

‘This announcement does come with a considerable sting in the tail. Funding these pledges by making cuts to NHS managers risks sabotaging the goals of the policy. The NHS already has a lower ratio of managers compared to other industries and a smaller administrative spend compared to other health systems globally. Achieving an efficient and productive health service requires experts who can streamline processes, align incentives, and create the environments for clinicians to focus on what they do best – delivering patient care.’

Notes to editors

  1. For the latest facts and figures on primary care in England head to our primary care nutshell.

  2. The King’s Fund has published three general election priorities any future government should take to ‘fix’ health and care, including improving access to out of hospital care.

  3. Our report, Making care closer to home a reality, published earlier this year, sets out some of the initial steps government can take to refocus the health and care system towards primary and community services.

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on 020 7307 2585. 

The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all. 

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