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‘Patient care has got worse this year’, say CCGs

‘Patient care has got worse this year’, say CCGs

Around 60% of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) finance leads have agreed that patient care has got worse this year.
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Around 60% of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) finance leads have agreed that patient care has got worse this year.

As the NHS is moving towards winter on a ‘knife edge’, leaders warned that without additional funding, waiting times for hospital treatments will soar and poor patient care is set continue.

Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at thinktank The King’s Fund, said: ‘The fact that half of NHS trusts think patient care in their area has been getting worse is sobering and shows that the NHS funding pressures are now having a real impact on the people using its services. 

‘This is happening despite the herculean efforts of staff and NHS leaders working to maintain standards of care under huge pressure.’ 

Financial concerns 

The findings, published in The King’s Fund quarterly monitoring report, highlighted concerns on the ability of CCGs to reach their financial target for 2017/18.

Only 45% of NHS trusts are confident they will meet their target, while commissioners had to make tough decisions to reduce spending, such as making people wait longer for treatment or limiting access to IVF services

NHS finances remain precarious, despite the injection of emergency funding and the application of tough new financial controls.

In September 2017, the NHS failed its first performance milestone of seeing 90% of A&E patients within four hours, seeing a 3.4% increase in admission compared to September 2016.

Ms Anandaciva said that ‘this should be a warning for the Chancellor, who is currently prepaing the Budget, and that NHS funding growth is planned to slow to a near halt next year’.

'Lowest growth rate'

The past five years have seen the lowest growth rate in public spending on health since 1955.

In 2015, the Health Care Foundation predicted a £2bn funding gap over the next five years, while national data suggest that NHS providers will face a net deficit of £523m in 2017/18.

‘Now, once again, we wait to see if winter sends provider income and performance plans off track, and we start the long run-in to March wondering if CCGs can land their savings plans or if NHS England can find a large enough underspend to cover any remaining deficits.

‘‘Sustainability’ and ‘transformation’ have been the two watchwords for the NHS in recent years, but as financial, operational and workforce pressures increase, it seems that we are at increasing risk of achieving neither,’ read the King’s Fund report.

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