March 23, 2017

NHS boss throws in towel over hospital targets

21 March 2017, 01:10 | Rodolfo Wallace

Hospital ward

Hospital ward

Its report - titled Mission Impossible?

NHS Providers predicts its members, which account for almost two-thirds of health spending, will get £89.1bn in 2017-18 - that is 2.6% more than they got this year, but crucially just half of the 5.2% demand is expected to grow by.

Trusts are now grappling with a 2.1 per cent increase in costs such as staff salaries, he said, while preparing for a funding increase next year of only 1.3 per cent compared to 3.6 per cent this year.

The organisation warned that the combination of these elements against a sharp reduction in NHS funding increased - down from 3.6% to 1.3% in 2017-18 - meant that meeting targets with limited resources was turning into a completely unattainable task.

Hopson went on to recommend that money was redirected to frontline care, to reduce "unwarranted variation" in performances across the NHS and to improve performance rapidly.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said more money was being put into the NHS, and that the Budget had set aside funding for social care which would help ease the pressure on hospitals. The report found that on the current performance trajectory, next year 1.8 million people in A&E services would fall outside of the target of 95% of patients being seen in four hours - over half a million people more than this year.

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"We're now quite a long way off the four hour A&E target, we're now quite a long way off the 92% of waiting times [target] and we're also having to make up a £800, if you took all of those into account we estimate you would need an extra £3.5bn next year in order to deliver all of those targets and eliminate the provider deficit".

Mr Hopson also pointed to a recent national staff survey showing that only 30 per cent of NHS workers believed there were enough staff members "to enable them to do their job properly".

The risk this problem poses to patient safety is also considerable.

"NHS trusts are treating more patients than ever before and performance remains good by global standards", he said.

Chief executive Chris Hopson said: "NHS trusts will strain every sinew to deliver the commitments made for the health service. This is the first time before the financial year starts that we're saying we can't keep the targets we're being asked to deliver that are in the NHS constitution".

Additionally, 83% of nurses asked said that they felt staffing levels were not safe.

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