ibusinesslines.com March 23, 2017

NHS faces 'mission impossible' with lack of funding

21 March 2017, 01:12 | Melissa Porter

GETTYThe Government's handling of NHS funding has hit a'new low, Mr Ashworth claims

GETTYThe Government's handling of NHS funding has hit a'new low, Mr Ashworth claims

NHS Providers, which represents trusts and is part of the NHS Confederation, said what was now being asked of services in the coming financial year was "well beyond reach".

"NHS leaders have to be realistic about what can be delivered next year".

The combination of trying to reach these targets in addition to funding reductions is something that is now "mission impossible", Hopson explained.

Trusts are now grappling with a 2.1 per cent increase in costs such as staff salaries, he said, while preparing for a funding increase next year of only 1.3 per cent compared to 3.6 per cent this year.

For example, it said trusts must absorb a projected 3.1% increase in overall demand from patients and 2.1% increase in costs including pay, buildings and laboratories.

NHS Providers predicts its members, which account for almost two-thirds of health spending, will get £89.1bn in 2017-18 - that is 2.6% more than they got this year, but crucially just half of the 5.2% demand is expected to grow by. "NHS trusts want to deliver NHS standards, achieve financial balance and improve performance".

However, they must do this while collectively balancing their books and with "sharply reduced" NHS England funding, with increases dropping from 3.6% this year to 1.3% in 2017-18.

But ministers insist that the NHS has been given the funding it needs to continue.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said extra money was being invested in the NHS and pointed out the Budget had set aside more funding for social care, which would also help relieve the pressures on hospitals in particular.

The analysis carried out by NHS Providers predicts the numbers waiting in A&E longer than the four-hour target will increase by 40 per cent next year to 1.8m.

It noted that the 2016 NHS staff survey showed only 30% of staff agreed that "there are enough staff at this organisation for me to do my job properly", with 47% disagreeing.

"We fear that patient safety is increasingly at risk".

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said the health service was a "can-do" organisation but many trusts believe they "can't deliver" on Government demands for the next financial year beginning next month.

Additionally, 83% of nurses asked said that they felt staffing levels were not safe. "We have now reached the point where, on the resources available, NHS trusts can no longer deliver what the NHS constitution requires".

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