Health Care

NHS faces 'mission impossible' with lack of funding

NHS faces 'mission impossible' with lack of funding

THE NHS faces "mission impossible" to meet government demands, a leading health boss warned yesterday.

"We're on course to realise £3bn this year, that's £250m more than last year, but I think all of us in the NHS knew that the £22bn was going to be a very, very stretching target and we are, somewhat inevitably, falling short", he said.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said the health service was a "can-do" organisation but many trusts believe they "can't deliver" on Government demands for the next financial year beginning next month.

The review also went on to set out the biggest challenges facing the NHS over the next financial year, including absorbing a projected 3.1% increase in overall demand from patients and a 2.1% increase to costs like pay, buildings and laboratories.

But ministers said the NHS has been given the money it needs.

The organisation warned that the combination of these elements against a sharp reduction in NHS funding increased - down from 3.6% to 1.3% in 2017-18 - meant that meeting targets with limited resources was turning into a completely unattainable task.

The combination of trying to reach these targets in addition to funding reductions is something that is now "mission impossible", Hopson explained.

Mr Hopson estimated trusts would need £2.5 billion more to turn performance around within a year.

"We're now quite a long way off the four hour A&E target, we're now quite a long way off the 92% of waiting times [target] and we're also having to make up a £800, if you took all of those into account we estimate you would need an extra £3.5bn next year in order to deliver all of those targets and eliminate the provider deficit".

NHS Providers, which represents hospital, mental health, and ambulance trusts, made the warning, saying front-line services simply do not have enough money to be able to cope.

Nearly 2,500 people had to wait more than two months for treatment to start, with nearly 1,000 people waiting more than three months.

"Nor does it acknowledge the hard work of NHS staff treating more than 900,000 more people a year in A&E within four hours, or performing more than 1.9 million more operations annually than in 2010".

Despite growing calls for extra funding, the government is reluctant to provide new funding for the NHS, but has released a small funding package linked to reform.

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