Notes to editors
How is the health and social care system performing? is the seventh of The King's Fund’s regular quarterly monitoring reports and is published on 14 February 2013. For further information or to request an interview with John Appleby, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on 020 7307 2585 (if calling out of hours, please ring 07584 146 035).
The surveys of finance directors and directors of adult social services aim to provide a snapshot of opinion and are not intended to be a representative sample. Both were collected via an online survey between 7 December 2012 and 4 January 2013.
Of 143 NHS finance directors invited to join, 48 were available to give their views. The majority of the panel were from acute or combined acute and community trusts, with others from mental health, ambulance and specialist trusts. No responses were received from primary care trust clusters. Of 152 directors of adult social services in English local authorities invited, 58 participated. Just over a third of these were from unitary bodies, a further third from shire counties and metropolitan districts and the others from London boroughs or unspecified.
16 of 48 finance directors in this quarter’s panel said that they thought that quality of care had got worse in the past 12 months (with 6 saying it had improved). This compares with 7 (and 14) from a panel of 45 in the September 2012.
The increase in the proportion of patients waiting four hours or more for admission is in part explained by the easing of the total time in A&E target in June 2010, from no more than 2 per cent to no more than 5 per cent waiting longer than four hours.
The report also examines workforce numbers, showing a reduction of 24,313 full-time NHS posts from March 2010 to October 2012. This includes a reduction of around 8,000 managers (equivalent to around 18.5 per cent), and more than 4,000 nurses, midwives and health visitors. However, the number of consultants has risen continuously since 2009, and by 12.3 per cent during the same period.
A survey of 252 NHS Confederation member chairs and chief executives, published on 20 June 2012, found more than 60 per cent reporting that local authority cuts had impacted on delays to discharge in their organisations over the previous 12 months. This survey was undertaken for the NHS Confederation by Picker Institute Europe between 26 April and 16 May 2012.
The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and health 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 care is available to all.