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King’s Fund quarterly report reveals quality of care at a record low

King’s Fund quarterly report reveals quality of care at a record low

The quarterly King’s Fund report has revealed that more than half of CCGs say the quality of patient care in their area has deteriorated over the past year
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The quarterly King’s Fund report has revealed that more than half of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) say the quality of patient care in their area has deteriorated over the past year.

A survey by the think tank shows that 54% of CCG finance leads and 65% of NHS trust finance directors felt that their patient care had worsened.

This was the highest proportion since the King’s Fund began tracking this in 2012.

Only 12% of CCG leaders and 2% of finance directors recorded that care had improved in their area.

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN said: "While deficits grow, demand continues to rise and trusts cannot be expected to cope solely through efficiencies.

“What is most worrying about this report is that Trusts are continuing to get further into debt which impacts on patient care. Without urgent investment it is hard to imagine this situation improving. The warning signs of financial pressures and worsening conditions should not be ignored any longer.

“Staff are working above and beyond to keep services going but this cannot continue forever. The NHS needs more investment and more staff.”

The report directly addressed the increasing strain the NHS is under with high demands and low resources.

For example, more than 1.85 million people spent longer than four hours in A&E across the year, which is the worst performance since 2003/4.

Meanwhile, the report also found that 67% of NHS providers ended the financial year in deficit.

The quarterly report was also not optimistic about the upcoming year, saying that despite efforts to reduce overspending, more than half of trust finance directors expect their trust to end the next fiscal year in deficit as well.

Among CCGs 61% are concerned about meeting their cost improvement targets in 2016/17, while nearly 20% of CCGs expect to overspend their budgets this year.

Stephen Dalton, acting chief executive of the NHS Confederation said: “Today’s report outlines the alarming reality that ongoing financial strain on the NHS is impacting our members’ efforts to deliver high quality care.

“Demand for care continues to rise, putting further pressure on an already strained health service. Fundamental change in how we provide care is critically needed if our members are to be successful in meeting the twin challenges of providing high quality services while balancing the books.

He continued: “We now need to see Government and national bodies providing the right support to allow our members to drive locally led change. In particular, the underfunding of social care services continues to put immense pressure on NHS services and hamper efforts to improve care. As a starting point, this must be addressed by the Government if the NHS is to have hope of delivering a sustainable high standard of care.”

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