Hospital Dr News

Government has focused on controlling NHS provider spending in first 100 days in power

Many of the new government’s initial actions on managing the NHS have been to address the increasing financial pressures facing the NHS.

This is the conclusion of think tank the King’s Fund, which says controlling provider spending is top of the government’s list of priorities.

It’s demonstrated by reducing expenditure on agency staff and management consultants.

Regulatory controls are also being strengthened and NHS providers have been required to revisit their plans – which Monitor recently branded ‘unaffordable’ – to identify savings.

The BMA said, however, that the first 100 days has been characterised by rhetoric at the expense of detail.

At the same time, pressure is increasing on the NHS to identify efficiency savings to deliver the £22 billion in productivity improvements it needs to find by 2020.

The Kings Fund said significant emphasis has been placed on implementing the findings of Lord Carter’s review of efficiency in hospitals and measuring how efficiently providers use resources.

The Carter review identified only £5 billion in savings, underlining the scale of the productivity challenge facing the NHS and the need to deliver better value by taking action at all levels of the NHS to change clinical practice.

Actions by the new government include:

– New rules on temporary staffing

– Controls on pay and conditions

– New regulatory controls

– Revisiting financial plans

– CCG measures

– The Carter review

In response to a significant increase in the use of agency staff (according to the government, this cost £3.3 billion last year), at the beginning of June, Jeremy Hunt announced new rules to control spending on temporary staff.

These include maximum hourly rates for agency staff, and a requirement for NHS organisations to employ staff only from agencies on approved frameworks.

For trusts in financial difficulty, a ‘ceiling’ will be applied on total spend on agency staff.

The government has introduced new measures in relation to pay costs for permanent staff. In early June controls on senior managers’ pay and conditions were announced. These are to be introduced immediately, and include a requirement for all trusts and clinical commissioning groups to review the pay of senior managers and report back to the Department of Health.

In addition, the Chancellor announced in July that public sector pay will increase by 1% a year for four years from 2016–17.

Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair, commented: “The first 100 days have been characterised by a focus on rhetoric at the expense of detail. We have seen no detail on how the £22 billion black hole in NHS finances in England is going to be closed, no definition about seven-day services, and an apparent intention to water down safeguards for patients and doctors.

“Taken with instructions for a recruitment freeze and hospital trusts currently facing deficits of £822 million, this adds up to a poor performance on the health service by the new government.”

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One Response to “Government has focused on controlling NHS provider spending in first 100 days in power”

  1. mct.morrison says:

    A few poimts:
    1. WHY has the NHS got such a big ‘deficit’? (Demand exceeds supply)
    2. How many QANGOs are there related to the NHS? How musch do THEY cost? Has anyone ‘audited’ them and established their ‘cost-effectiveness’?
    2. WHY does the NHS NEED to employ so many agency staff (particularly doctors and nurses)? (It can’t attract enough ‘permanent’ staff – and the EWTRs)
    3. WHY does the NHS need to spend ANY money on ‘management consultants’? Have they not got enough highly paid managers already? Or maybe THEY cannot solve the NHS’s problems!
    4. WHY does the Govt. need to ‘ask’ the CCGs about their senior managers’ pay? Do they not already know how many there are and what they are paid? If not, is there not something wrong with their ‘infromation technology’?!

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