Growing crisis in NHS hospitals threatens to undermine Five Year Forward View

In response to today’s House of Commons Health Committee report into the Impact of the Spending Review on health and social care, the senior hospital doctors’ union Hospital Consultants & Specialists Association has endorsed its call for a review of the goals and financial viability of a Five Year Forward Plan and Seven-Day Services.

Hospital Consultants & Specialists Association General Secretary Eddie Saville said: “No-one can accuse NHS England of lacking ambition, but from the outset the Five-Year Forward View noted the sizeable challenge of achieving the £30 billion funding required, £22bn of which was earmarked from spending efficiencies.

“The committee’s well-reasoned critique is supportive – as is the wider body of senior doctors – of changes that will enhance patient care and deliver better, more modern services more efficiently.

“However, we fear that unrealistic expectations of the front-line savings possible in hospital trusts threaten this ambition.

“The committee raises a series of concerns shared by the Hospital Consultants & Specialists Association, not least the contrast between major transformation and seven-day care plans, and a growing crisis within the cash-strapped Trusts and local authorities responsible for social care.

“The MPs also provide clear evidence of the perverse impact of pay restraint on permanent staffing levels at all grades within NHS hospitals, fuelling shortages and leading to extortionate locum bills.

“As we approach the half-way point of the Five-Year Forward View next year, this report adds to mounting evidence that an urgent reassessment of its goals and financial basis is required to prevent a growing crisis in NHS hospital finances undermining the entire project.

“We agree that such a review needs to include an open and honest explanation of what the shortfall in funding will mean for patient care.”