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NHS vanguard plans to save £900m by 2020 ‘optimistic’, says NAO

NHS vanguard plans to save £900m by 2020 ‘optimistic’, says NAO

NHS plans to save millions of pounds through the new care models programme ‘may be optimistic’ because of poor oversight of the initiatives, says the National Audit Office.
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NHS plans to save millions of pounds through the new care models programme ‘may be optimistic’ because of poor oversight of the initiatives, says the National Audit Office.

In a report out today the NAO said the financial impact of the new care models are unproven and, while initiatives have been set up to look at how to sustainably transform care, ‘oversight of the initiatives is poor’.

NHS England outlined the new care models in the Five Year Forward View and said they expect to save £900m by 2020.

It said in a statement that the Integration Partnership Board, which is chaired by representatives from DH, NHS England and Local Government Association, only receives progress updates on the Better Care Fund (BCF) with no reporting from other integration programmes.

The report also warned that progress with the integration plans, funded by the BCF, has been slower and less successful than expected and has not yet delivered any benefits to patients, the NHS or local authorities.

The report highlights that while the BCF had improved joint working, the £5.3bn spent through the fund in 2015/16 was not delivering value for money.

NAO said in a statement: ‘Nationally, the Fund did not achieve its principal financial and service targets over 2015/16, its first year.

‘Planned reductions in rates of emergency admissions were not achieved, nor did the Fund achieve the planned savings of £511m.’

Emergency admissions increased by 87,000 between 2014/15 and 2015/16, despite a planned reduction of 106,000, which cost an additional £311m.

Also over that time, days lost to delayed transfers of care increased by 185,000, against a planned reduction of 293,000, which cost £146m more than planned.

Commenting generally on service integration, NAO said there was ‘no compelling evidence’ to show that integration leads to sustainable financial savings or less use of acute hospitals.

Sir Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: ‘So far, benefits have fallen far short of plans, despite much effort. It will be important to learn from the over-optimism of such plans when implementing the much larger NHS sustainability and transformation plans.

‘The Departments do not yet have the evidence to show that they can deliver their commitment to integrated services by 2020, at the same time as meeting existing pressures on the health and social care systems.’

NHS England did not respond with comment in time for publication.

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