Chris Smyth in The Times, 21st November 2015 reports: NHS is heading for financial meltdown The professions know this, and the politicians and managers won’t talk about realistic solutions. So nobody seems to care..Hence the foundation of NHSreality 3 years ago. The quality and the financial agendas are together impossible to satisfy under an “Everything for everyone for ever” philosophy.. The fact that the most valuable asset, the staff, seem to feel undervalued and are about to strike is very sad…… (Keep the moral high ground…. Do something but don’t go on strike. It’s the public support which matters.. ) and NHSreality is not in favour – go to the brink but do not strike.. Talk, through the BMA, about overt rationing and an honest language and the truth will out.. There is no need for the NHS to die..
The NHS spent almost £1 billion on agency staff in three months as the health service descends into “unprecedented financial meltdown”.
Hospitals are on course to end the year £2.2 billion in the red after overspending by £1.6 billion in the past six months, while missing a string of targets on emergency and cancer care.
They are now heading into their busiest time of year while facing strikes by junior doctors and demands to cut back on staff costs to claw back deficits. Caps on rates for agency doctors and nurses take effect on Monday, despite warnings from regulators that this will mean fewer staff on the wards and significant risks to patient safety.
Last night the NHS Employers organisation was discussing mediation with Acas, the conciliation service, after a request from union leaders, but there was no sign of a breakthrough.
Four in five hospitals are in the red, with experts warning that care would get worse fast without an injection of cash in next week’s spending review.
George Osborne is resisting pressure to provide the bulk of a promised £8 billion budget rise next year.
Anita Charlesworth, the chief economist at the Health Foundation think tank, said that the situation was truly dire, with hospitals locked in a vicious cycle of inefficient spending without the resources to make changes.
“Problems with staff are at the absolute heart of this — there’s an inability at the moment to secure the number of staff the NHS needs, particularly nursing staff,” she said.
“Low morale and engagement of staff is a problem. Some staff will be electing to resign permanent jobs and go on agency terms. One of the things over the last few months is the workforce is increasingly fed up. The junior doctor vote, 98 per cent in favour of strike, is a clear message.”
Hospitals spent £969 million on agency staff in the second quarter of the financial year, up from £895 million in the previous quarter, despite efforts to recruit cheaper permanent staff.
A further £270 million was wasted by “bed-blocking” as hospitals struggled to find places for patients fit to leave.
Richard Murray, director of policy at the King’s Fund think tank, said: “The NHS is in the grip of an unprecedented financial meltdown. Deficits on this scale cannot be attributed to mismanagement or inefficiency.
“Quite simply, it is no longer possible for the vast majority of NHS providers to maintain standards of care and balance their budgets.”