It’s nonsense. A £22Bn “black hole”! Management by incompetence.. Even a ghost could do it better.

The Telegraph opines: ‘No coherent plan’ to avert NHS £22bn black hole, NAO warns – Public spending watchdogs accuse the Government and NHS of no clear plan to avert financial crisis, and warn that some of their efforts are making matters worse

It’s nonsense. Management by incompetence.. Even a ghost could manage the health services better.. GPs are disengaged and disillusioned but they have been alerting the politicians (if they read) to some ways they might get on board…. BMS Wales.. David Millett in GP Magasine 15th December 2015 points out that “Rationing of services and treatments on rise, GPs warn, but nobody is listening… A summary of the GP survey of readers is at the bottom of the post.

The Government and NHS lack any coherent plan to close a £22bn estimated NHS black hole which is looming by 2020, the National Audit Office has warned.

The public spending watchdog said deficits this year are expected to reach record levels.

The damning report provoked warnings from MPs that hospitals’ finances are deteriorating at a “severe and rapid pace” despite large bailouts from central Government.

The NHS is now facing an unprecedented £2.2bn deficit by the end of this financial year, compared with £843m the year before, the NAO said.

George Osborne recently announced the investment of an extra £8.4bn a year into the NHS by 2020.It followed a pledge by the head of the NHS to make £22bn in health service efficiencies, in order to close a gap in finances which would otherwise emerge.

But the NAO report states: “It is not yet clear that the Department, NHS England, Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority have the coherent plan that is needed to get trusts’ finances back on track and to close their estimated £22bn gap between resources and patients’ needs by 2020-21.”

The watchdog warns that the efforts of NHS hospitals to control their spending have been stymied by repeated changes in the guidance and rules set by Government and regulators.

The report warns that rows over payment rates for hospitals have “undermined financial planning”.

Meanwhile guidance which was supposed to clamp down on costs, by cutting the rates paid agency staff appeared in conflict with other NHS policies, which had encouraged hospitals to boost staff numbers, the report says.

NAO chief Amyas Morse warned that the position was unsustainable, with too many trusts relying on running a deficit.

He said: “Running a deficit seems to be becoming normal practice for acute trusts.

“There is a risk that poor financial performance is seen as the least worst option compared with poor healthcare provision.

“Until there is a clear pathway for trusts to get back to financial stability, we cannot be confident that value for money will be achieved.”

Meg Hillier, chair of the Committee of Public Accounts said: “It is simply unacceptable that the finances of acute hospital trusts have deteriorated at such a severe and rapid pace. Some NHS and foundation trusts are only getting by on handouts, costing the taxpayer £1.8 billion in 2014-15.”

It came as family doctors warned that rationing has made it harder for patients to get crucial NHS tests, including those for cancer.

The poll of 700 doctors by GP magazine found half said had denied patients direct access to cancer tests, while six out of 10 said rationing had worsened in their area in the last 12 months.

David Prior, Health Minister said: “This government is committed to the values of the NHS, which is why we’re investing £10bn in its own plan for the future – including £6bn upfront by next year. Hospitals must now show tight financial grip and fully introduce our measures to reduce expensive temporary staffing and drive through the productivity and efficiency improvements identified by Lord Carter. The impact of these measures will be reflected later in the year and NHS finances will be in a much stronger position in 2016-17.”

GP Magasine Survey:

Six in 10 GPs say that rationing of NHS treatments and services has worsened in their area over the past year, with up to half denied direct access to key cancer diagnostic tests, a GPonline poll suggests…

…many could not access brain MRI scans, while 46% could not access flexible sigmoidoscopy – key cancer diagnostics GPs should have access to in order to follow NICE guidance.

The results suggest little has changed since a GPonline investigation last year revealed that half of GPs could not access these tests due to CCG-imposed restrictions.

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About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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