Financial strain already harming patient care, NHS leaders warn By Jennifer Sprinks
‘DEmANDS oN RESoURcES ARE GRoWING AND FINANcES ARE TIGHTENING’ Speaking ahead of the organisation’s annual conference, which starts today in Liverpool, NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar said: ‘This survey paints some worrying pictures. The NHS and its staff face yet another year of pressure – demands
Financial pressures on NHS organisations are intensifying and are having a detrimental impact on patient care, survey findings published this week reveal. An NHS Confederation survey of 185 chief executives and chairs from organisations including NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups found that half believe financial pressures have affected waiting times and access to care over the past year. one in five respondents described the current financial pressures as the worst they have ever known, and 83 per cent thought they would get worse over the next 12 months. Seven in ten said future financial pressures would most affect waiting
times and access to care, while 64 per cent said they would mainly affect patient experience, and 14 per cent said there would be a knock-on effect on clinical outcomes. Eleven per cent of respondents stated financial pressures would affect aspects such as staffing levels and workforce morale.
on resources are growing and finances are tightening.’ However, the survey, conducted between April 18 and May 7, also found that nearly three quarters of NHS leaders feel confident they will meet their savings targets over the coming year. The survey revealed that nine in ten NHS leaders had made little or no progress to develop community services and integrate them with care provided in hospital. RCN head of policy Howard Catton expressed concerns about the lack of progress in integrating care, saying that better partnerships between the community and acute sectors could ease the financial pressures in the longer term. ‘Closer working is crucial for finding ways to deliver safe, high-quality care against a financially challenged backdrop,’ he said. A positive finding from the survey was that 91 per cent of leaders felt they were making good or reasonable progress in identifying how they will respond to the Francis report into failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
Mongolian health team meets at RCN A healthcare delegation from Mongolia has discussed partnership working with British nurses. RCN general secretary Peter Carter (pictured centre) met Mongolian MP Sainkhuu Ganbaatar (centre right) and members of a Mongolian health team at RCN headquarters in London last week.
The delegation was on a four-day visit to the UK. Mongolia is a rapidly developing country in the process of reorganising its health service. Nursing consultant Jane Salvage, who attended the event, helped organise the first official UK government health delegation visit to Mongolia last November.
Eighty nine per cent said they had taken steps to ensure staff are aware of their responsibility to raise concerns and 61 per cent agreed that NHS culture change was vital for better patient care. Parliamentary under secretary of state for quality Lord Howe, whose responsibilities at the department of Health include NHS commissioning reform and finance, said: ‘NHS funding will increase by £12.7 billion over the course of this parliament. ‘Even so we know the NHS is facing pressures, but it is in good financial health, with the vast majority of hospitals expected to finish the year in surplus.’ june 5 :: vol 27 no 40 :: 2013 11