On 17th July the Commissioning review reported: King’s Fund asks Hunt: How will seven-day care be funded? Is the minister grounded in reality?
Kings Fund: (Health and social care: three priorities for the new government Mounting deficits, worsening performance and declining staff morale mean that the NHS is facing its biggest challenges for many years, while pressures on social care are escalating. The challenge for the government will be to strike a balance between addressing unprecedented short-term pressures and initiating the long-term changes needed to place the NHS and social care on a sustainable footing. The stakes could not be higher.)
Yesterday, the secretary of state set out his 25-year vision for the NHS, but Chris Ham, chief executive of The King’s Fund says the £8 billion increase will not cover his seven-day care plans.
Ham welcomed seven-day care as “the right ambition” but branded it “difficult to deliver”.
This was partly due to challenges to ensure sufficient numbers of staff are available at the weekend, and also “the question about how it will be paid for”, he added.
“The £8 billion increase in the NHS budget the government has pledged by 2020 is the bare minimum needed to maintain standards of care and will not cover the additional costs associated with a seven-day NHS,” he said.
However, The King’s Fund said there was “much to welcome” from Hunt’s speech, including the continued focus on safety and quality of care, and the emphasis on transparency and learning, rather than target-driven systems.
Ham commented: “Many of the themes in the speech will strike a chord with NHS staff but they will take time to deliver results.
“The test will be whether the emphasis on devolution and self-improvement can be maintained in the face of short-term political imperatives – ministers invariably find it difficult to resist intervening, particularly when NHS performance declines,” he said.