Andrew Hine, UK head of healthcare at KPMG, comments on the Chancellor’s announcement that the NHS’ budget will continue to be protected. He says:
“By reiterating his pledge to safeguard the health budget from spending cuts, the Chancellor has signalled his continued commitment to one of the UK’s most valuable institutions. Today’s NHS may face criticism in some quarters, but George Osborne’s actions give the strongest indication yet that, at the tender age of 65, the NHS is nowhere near ready for retirement.
“Guaranteeing a specific level of investment in the NHS is a great start but it’s not enough on its own. Even with this level of funding the NHS will be under strain. Our population is ageing rapidly and medical technologies and pharmaceuticals are creating new, exciting but also more expensive treatments. Achieving the results we all want as patients requires both investment and change.
“Better health outcomes for patients will only be achieved if hospital leaders focus on their staff, pay attention to the way clinicians are able to interact with patients and improve the time they can spend on patient care. In other words, resource management is a skill that has to be perfected so that the methods being put in place to deliver care, together with the needs and voice of the patient, are at the forefront of every decision made.
“The fact is that having funds available is only part of the answer. But to really relieve pressure on a dedicated workforce the funds need to be aimed at redesigning the health pathway so that patient doctors, nurses and social care teams are in a position to meet the needs of every patient, every time.”
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