On 28th October, three NHS leaders provided evidence to a regular session of the Parliamentary Health Select Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr Sarah Wollaston MP. They were:
- Simon Stevens, Chief Executive Officer, NHS England
- Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, National Medical Director, NHS England
- Paul Baumann, Chief Financial Officer, NHS England
On the financial position of the NHS, and on the funding situation for the next 5 years, the 5 Year View says this:
NHS spending has been protected over the past five years, and this has helped sustain services. However, pressures are building. In terms of future funding scenarios, flat real terms NHS spending overall would represent a continuation of current budget protection. Flat real terms NHS spending per person would take account of population growth. Flat NHS spending as a share of GDP would differ from the long term trend in which health spending in industrialised countries tends to rise a share of national income.
Simon Stevens pointed to the changing demand, efficiencies and funding situation he expects over the next 5 years, and explained why an estimated £8bn per year will be needed by 2021. Preventative measures such as reducing obesity would play an increasing role in reducing demand in the future; innovation and implementing more joined-up care would help deliver efficiencies; and more funding would be needed to help care for our increasing and aging population.
Professor Sir Bruce Keogh was keen to make the NHS focused on clinical as well as other outcomes, for example not only the correct medical procedures, but also good patient and carer experience and safe care. He explained that there must be no compromise in quality, through productivity and efficiency measures; this means no more ‘salami slicing’ to make economies, instead innovation will be key to maintaining and improving both.
Some crucial national decisions will be required, but locally we must be engaged and play our part in bringing forward improved, innovative solutions. If we do this in Bucks, the result will be a far better future for our local NHS, for patients, for staff and all those who support them.