The NHS Confederation last week published a letter to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, to urge the Government to provide political will and financial backing to secure the future of hard pressed NHS services. This was co-signed by 50 leaders in healthcare, including me.
The publication of the letter coincided with a major speech from Mr Cameron (link) and Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens (link).
The overarching themes from these speeches was further commitment to implement the Five Year Forward View, making a 7-day NHS a reality, greater focus on healthy lifestyles and prevention and treating mental health with equal importance as physical health. The Government has pledged to provide the NHS with an additional £8 billion in funding by 2020, but this is in the context of the NHS still needing to find £22 billion in efficiency savings.
The level of change and challenge facing the NHS will continue to be significant, but we now have a clear sense of direction and purpose at a national level, guided by the Five Year Forward View. On a more regional level, Greater Manchester is progressing plans for the devolution of health and social care from central government to the city region.
At a Trust level, Pennine Care continues to be a high performer in terms of both quality and finance. However, we still need to achieve £47.5 million in efficiency savings over the next five years to contribute to the overall NHS target of £22 billion. This will be tough at times but we must ensure that the care and safety of our patients and the wellbeing of our staff are at the forefront of any changes we make. We are now engaging with our staff widely on developing plans for the future and I would encourage all of you to get involved.
I would encourage you to read these when you can as it will help to give you a sense of direction for the NHS over the next five years. We will of course provide regular updates about how these changes will impact our frontline staff as it becomes clear.