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Health leaders know £22bn savings impossible, Lamb says

Health leaders know £22bn savings impossible, Lamb says

The efficiency savings are "virtually impossible" and NHS England leaders know it, former health minister Norman Lamb said today
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The efficiency savings are "virtually impossible" and NHS England leaders know it, former health minister Norman Lamb said today.

Lamb, who was the Liberal Democrat care leader when the Five Year Forward View was published, said that the £22bn efficiency savings are based on "completely heroic assumptions" that chief executive Simon Stevens and everyone else at the top of NHS England doesn't believe in.

He is concerned that there is a "huge gap" in what the government is saying can be done and what the people in the field think they are able to achieve. This is risky if the government is building up the expectation while the people who are doing it know it can't be done, he said.

"This is the truth of it. I dont think anyone at the top of NHS England believes we can keep it to £8 billion either... The sums don't stack up, at some stage something's got to break and it's better we confront it now than allow the system to crash," he said at a conference in London to an audience of commissioners and health professionals.

The debate focused on whether the government could deliver its pre-election pledges, of which the majority of the audience of healthcare professionals agreed it could not.

"If you think about the central assumptions that Simon Stevens' Five Year Forward View talked about he starts from the basis that the system will need an extra £30 billion by 2020, and incidently it doesn't just appear in 2020 it's here now and growing all the way through. And then there was this ascertion made that you could get it down to £8 billion by efficiency savings. Well that depends on completely heroic assumptions that no one believes."

Also in the debate Lamb said that the commissioning budgets should be pooled in every locality by 2018 and that it will be difficult to deliver integrated care when there is the 2012 Health and Social Care Act that actually legislates disintegration.

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