Published on 27/09/2012
NHS finance directors believe that NHS care will worsen in 2013, according to a new survey, as the service tries to meet savings targets in the next three years.
According to the King’s Fund quarterly report on the performance of the NHS, the system has coped remarkably well with the budget cuts so far. The report states that overall waiting times and hospital superbug rates were low in the first quarter of this year.
But whilst nationally the NHS is hitting its performance targets, the figures mask wide variation in individual hospitals.
The report also found that pressure increased on A&E departments in the same time period, as 35 hospitals missed the target of fewer than five per cent of patients waiting longer than four hours. This is the highest number in the first part of the financial year since 2004/5.
And in a survey of 45 NHS finance chiefs accompanying the report, 40 per cent said that they believe patient care will get worse in the coming years. 19 of the panel said they expected care to worsen, with only eight believing it will improve.
In addition, a total of 27 of the managers who took part in the survey said that there was now a high or very high risk that the NHS would not meet its savings targets of £20bn by 2015. Prof John Appleby, author of the report said:
"The financial situation is not going to ease up for the NHS."
“There are signs that future years will be harder. The end of the public sector pay freeze next April may add to financial pressure and increase the strain on services.
"The difficulty for local providers will be finding ways to absorb these costs without compromising the quality of care for patients."
However, Health Minister Lord Howe said: "The NHS is on track to achieve its up to £20 billion savings target.”
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012Categories: NHS and Hospitals