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NHS will be tested to the limit

14th December 2010

A report by the Commons Health Select Committee has found said that plans by the government to cut spending will seriously test the health service. 

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The Committee said the fact that the government wanted the NHS to make savings of 4% every year for four years was a "huge ask".

The chief executive of the NHS, Sir David Nicholson, has said that according to estimates, the health service needed to save between £15-20 billion by 2016.

The head of the Committee, Stephen Dorrell, a former Conservative health secretary, spoke to BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

He said the health service's spending was being widely kept the same, but added: "We're having to find ways of doing more with the same amount of money."

He explained that the health service would only be able to do that if social care departments acted in a similar way, as people at risk could be forced to rely on the NHS for treatment if there was a shortfall in social care.

Liberal Democrat Health Minister Paul Burstow said: "In the last 13 years the approach hasn't been particularly focused on efficiency or effectiveness, it's been focused on pouring more money into the NHS and hoping that we got better results."

"We know we haven't achieved that. If you look at cancer survival rates, mortality rates in respect of heart attacks and so on, the NHS is not performing at its best."

 

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Comments

Joel Haspel

Tuesday 14th December 2010 @ 13:54

As someone who works closely with NHS trusts I am deeply concerned that the financial challenges identified by the Commons health select committee will result in poorer patient services. This is not because the NHS can’t save money and be more efficient – it can. But efficiency demands investment in technologies that streamline services, something the private sector knows very well. Simply demanding large, immediate savings could make this impossible and just force trusts to make cuts.


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