Today the news focussed on pharmacies helping the GPs, but of course they are not trained in differential diagnosis…. The distraction was unhelpful. The real headline should be about money and funding. The only way out is rationing overtly…The Health Services are bust and in any other system they would all be put into the hands of a receiver. In a preliminary report from the Sunday Times (not on line) we were warned yesterday (£10bn NHS gap by 2010) and this was backed up by the Guardian 23rd May which reports: NHS faces £10bn-a-year deficit by 2020, says report
Analysis by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (Cipfa) suggests the NHS will exceed its budget by £10bn a year in four years’ time as it struggles to make £22bn in planned efficiency savings.
The quality of care could suffer and costs will be higher if the funding gap is not filled, said the professional body’s chief executive, Rob Whiteman.
New charges or rationing of care would have to be introduced or else the government would have to raise taxes to make up for the shortfall, Cipfa said.
Its report said new pressures had developed since the Five Year Forward View was devised by NHS England in 2014, and the additional £8.4bn in funding announced by the government last year was being used to plug short-term gaps.
Cipfa called for a “golden ratio” on health spending tied to Britain’s gross domestic product (GDP). It said the UK health budget was expected to be 7% of GDP by 2020, compared with 11% in Germany and France and 18% in the US.
Whiteman said: “The NHS faces a shortfall of £2.45bn this year and that’s likely to grow to £10bn by 2020. The Five Year Forward View, an attempt to bring long-term planning to the NHS, has floundered after just one year.
“Failure of long-term financial planning will degrade services and cost more in the end. We’re seeing a worrying trend toward centralised control and a health service falling into a desperate scramble from one year to the next.
“The UK spends among the lowest of any developed nation on health. It is not enough. To protect the NHS and the considerable value for money it offers, the government must show leadership. I’m calling for an independent commission to set a golden ratio of GDP spend on healthcare free from short-term political priorities.”
The report follows similar warnings from other bodies. This month the Health Foundation, a charity, said an NHS England briefing note showed the NHS had delivered savings of just £1bn last year.
The government said that by 2020-21 a total of £10bn in real terms would have been invested in the health service, and NHS figures showed £300m less than planned had been spent on employing agency staff since last October.
A Department of Health spokesman said: “We know finances are challenging, but we are committed to the NHS which is why we’re investing £10bn to fund its own plan for the future, including nearly £4bn this year.
“Our clampdown on expensive agency staff and management consultants is starting to have an impact in helping trusts, but hospital leaders must continue to show grip to ensure finances are placed on the same footing as quality of care and so every penny possible goes to the frontline.”