Ahead of the publication of the Francis Report into failings at mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust, KPMG’s head of public healthcare argues that 2013 will be one of the toughest years ever, for the NHS. He suggests that the next 12 months will see acute financial challenge, tough measures to improve care and an urgent need to redesign the way healthcare is delivered across the NHS.
Andrew Hine says: “Irrespective of whether they are clinicians or managers, many leaders across the NHS will be anxious about the challenges 2013 will bring, unsure whether the NHS can respond quickly enough and uncertain that changes will be radical enough to make a difference. Many accept that a substantial transformation is necessary; to the workforce, to care models, to use of technology to how and where services are provided, if quality is to improve while funding is limited. They know that doing this in the political context of the NHS is hard but that inaction is not an option.
“It is becoming increasingly apparent that the gap between the growth in healthcare costs – which rise at around 7% year on year - and the affordability of a healthcare system free at the point of delivery means the ‘need to save’ will become business as usual, rather than a short-term challenge. Such significant financial distress will not be limited to hospital expenditure; the ramifications of increased demands and costs and static real terms budgets mean we are facing a scenario where NHS Trusts will run the very real risk of becoming insolvent. Unable to sustain themselves, alone, mergers will become a very real probability for some, while others will face the prospect of being broken up or taken over.
“With the public eye also gazing sternly over some widely reported failings in care, 2013 is likely to herald a raft of measures designed to improve standards of treatment and professional governance. There are some that question how far the Francis Report will go. Make no mistake, changes may not be overnight, but they will have long term and profound effects. What remains to be seen, of course, is how fast and how boldly politicians, NHS leaders and the regulators act when Francis finally reports.
“What is already clear is that the NHS faces an immense challenge meeting the needs of an ageing population whose demands for better healthcare will not diminish. In these difficult circumstances, innovative ways to provide health care must – and will - be found. It’s not just about telehealth, though the technology is there to be used. Instead, 2013 will be the year that we see a step change in the way services are delivered as NHS Trusts around the country undergo a systemic reorganisation of care. With budgets tightening, it’s no longer enough to paper over the cracks and the year ahead will be one where real foundation stones are laid to prepare the NHS for its long-term future.”
Mike Petrook, KPMG Press Office
020 7311 5271 (t), 07917 384 576 (m) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with over 11,000 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.7 billion in the year ended September 2011. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. We operate in 152 countries and have 145,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. KPMG International provides no client services.