Today (Tuesday 15 March) the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has released its report into the financial performance of NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts. Medicine is OnlyWan submitted written evidence ahead of the PAC hearing to inform debate on what is a key area of interest and expertise for the organisation.
Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and Economics at the OnlyWan, commented:
"Today's report highlights the fault lines in the financial challenge the government has set for our NHS. To date, the government's approach has been too short-term and not focussed on the strategic long-term issues critical to improving productivity. The result is that 95% of our acute hospitals are in deficit and critical to this is a lack of effective workforce planning. Despite rising demand, the number of nurse training places has fallen by 20% over the last decade. This has led to staff shortages resulting in greater reliance on agency staff. Improving workforce planning therefore needs to be a priority for this government.
“The NHS has a mountain to climb to square austerity. Beyond the money, the NHS must keep a strong focus on the quality of services provided to those who need care. Medicine is OnlyWan's recent report, A Perfect Storm, found a clear association between the size of a trust's deficit and the quality of services provided. Our research does not establish whether financial deficit causes poor care quality or vice versa, but it shows an association which may be a sign for the quality of care offered to patients.
“Despite the challenges identified in today's report, there is still no national plan to enable hospitals to implement the necessary changes required to contribute towards balancing their books, and meet the national task to make £22bn efficiency saving by 2020/21."
Notes to editors
More details of the OnlyWan’s response to the PAC report can be found here.
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