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Trusts complain that efficiency measures are unsustainable

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What are providers‘ thoughts on long-term efficiency measures?

 

Providers want changes to the NHS efficiency strategy to be included in the upcoming NHS long-term plan.

 

After surveying 54% of trusts in England, NHS Providers says the thinking is that current methods of driving efficiency, such as ‘setting an over-ambitious, top-level target and reducing the real terms prices trusts are paid for the care they provide, in the hope they will find further savings’ are not sustainable.

 

Results of the survey are set out in a report Making the most of the money ― efficiency and the long-term plan.

 

Trusts say that most readily available savings have been made and that they are now turning to one-off measures such as land sales, freezes on filling vacancies and delays to maintenance work.

 

The report states the success of the NHS long-term plan, backed by the new funding settlement, will depend on the ability of the health service to deliver ‘stretching levels of efficiency’.

 

Trust leaders say long-term efficiency opportunities lie in better ‘system’ working with trusts collaborating with commissioners, local councils and others to improve care and join up the delivery of separate services.

 

The report’s findings show:

  • 61% of respondents selected improved system working as one of the biggest opportunities over the next five years
  • asked about the biggest barriers to improve efficiency, 69% cited the way financial incentives for trusts promote short-term thinking; a similar proportion cited operational pressures
  • 71% agreed there was waste in the NHS through inefficiency
  • 19% were confident that their trust could increase efficiency savings over the next five years
  • 10% thought their trust would be set a reasonable efficiency target for the next five years
  • 25% said they could safely continue to deliver efficiency savings at the same rate.

 

Further information

NHS Providers: Improving NHS efficiency ― a different approach is needed

NHS Providers: NHS long term-plan should herald new approach to deliver further efficiency

Wilmington: Secretary of State Hunt reveals priorities for the upcoming 10-year plan