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Hunt orders ICS efficiency review

Hunt orders ICS efficiency review
By Jess Hacker
17 November 2022

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has appointed former Labour health secretary Patricia Hewitt to help ensure the efficiency and accountability of all 42 ICS.

Ms Hewitt, who is now chair of Norfolk and Waveney ICS, will advise Mr Hunt and current health secretary Steve Barclay on how to make sure the local NHS operates ‘efficiently with appropriate autonomy and accountability’.

It forms a key part of his autumn budget (17 November), which has centred on the NHS joining ‘all public services in tackling waste and inefficiency’, without adding to frontline staff pressure.

He described the measures as seeking ‘Scandinavian quality alongside Singaporean efficiency’, with ‘better outcomes for citizens and better value’ for taxpayers.

The Government will also increase the NHS budget in each of the next two years by £3.3bn, suggesting ‘efficiency savings alone’ will not be enough to deliver services.

Amanda Prichard, NHS England’s chief, said it should provide ‘sufficient’ funding to fulfil the NHS’s key priorities.

This will be accompanied by £4.7bn for social care, totalling £8bn for the health and care system.

Mr Hunt also said the NHS will publish an independently verified plan for the number of doctors, nurses and other professionals it will need over the next five, 10 and 15 years – taking into account the need for ‘better retention’ and productivity improvements.

The measure had been recommended several times by Mr Hunt during his time chairing the Health and Social Care Select Committee.

Ms Hewitt last week gave evidence to the Committee’s first evidence hearing on the accountability and autonomy of ICSs.

She told MPs ICBs must be held accountable for their outcomes rather than be assessed against mass targets.

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