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29
Nov

‘Cracks emerging’ in NHS


A new report published by The King’s Fund, which focuses its findings on eight key aspects of health care, says the NHS continues to function well but warns that cracks are appearing and the risks to patient care are high.

A new report published by The King’s Fund, which focuses its findings on eight key aspects of health care, says the NHS continues to function well but warns that cracks are appearing and the risks to patient care are high.

The report examines access, patient safety, promoting health, managing long-term conditions, clinical effectiveness, patient experience, equity, and efficiency in the NHS against a backdrop of three significant areas of change: major reforms to the NHS, the drive to achieve £20bn of productivity savings by 2015 (the Nicholson challenge), and reduced spending on social services.

It states: “In general, the performance of the NHS is holding up despite financial pressures and disruption from reforms. However, cracks are emerging, with longer waiting times in accident and emergency, and the financial difficulties of more providers being exposed.”

The King’s Fund chief executive Chris Ham said much of the future of the NHS would nowdepend on strong leadership and transparency in policy. In a statement he said: “Having spent the first half of the Parliament legislating for radical changes to the organisation of the NHS, the government now needs to focus on the mundane but much more important challenge of implementing and executing theservice changes on which its record will ultimately depend.

“Much hinges on the ability of the new ministerial team to work with leaders at all levels, and to engage thousands of clinical staff in rising to this challenge.”

He warned that the government “must also implement overdue service changes and new models of care at a scale and pace never seen before”, and their failure to do so would only cause more organisations to fall into deficit and the quality of care being compromised.

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