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CCG rationing will see care quality suffer in six months, say trust chiefs


29 November 2016

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Less than half of NHS trust chiefs think they will be able to offer high quality care in six months' time as a result of care rationing, according to a new NHS Providers report.

The report, the state of the NHS Providers sector, said the service that NHS providers is offering “is now starting to deteriorate”.

Less than half of NHS trust chiefs think they will be able to offer high quality care in six months' time as a result of care rationing, according to a new NHS Providers report.

The report, the state of the NHS Providers sector, said the service that NHS providers is offering “is now starting to deteriorate”.

It says: “Due to financial pressures, some clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are starting to restrict access to treatments. In our survey, less than half (46%) of chairs and chief executives said they believe their trusts will be able to provide high quality care in six months’ time.”

It added that despite best efforts trusts are missing nearly all of their key performance targets, with just 30% of trust chairs and chief executives expecting their performance against these targets to improve over the next six months.

Chris Hopson, NHS Providers chief executive, said: “Demand is rising much faster than anyone predicted. Trusts are having to cope with the fallout from a social care system that has reached a tipping point and parts of general practice that are rapidly becoming overwhelmed.

“We are in the middle of the longest and deepest financial squeeze in NHS history with four years of much lower funding increases on the horizon and no plan on how to cope with them. We also have a series of workforce challenges we are struggling to meet.”

Only one in four trust leaders (27%) are confident they have the right staff numbers, quality and skill mix to deliver high quality healthcare for patients and service users.

Meanwhile, 22% are confident about having the right staffing levels in six months’ time.

The report says these findings indicate that, for many trust leaders, worries over staffing are becoming even more urgent than those over funding.

Hopson added: “We need greater honesty and realism about what can be delivered for the funding and staff capacity that is available. We need a smaller set of key priorities, more support for staff, and a better relationship between trusts, the government and its arms length bodies to develop solutions to these challenges.

“We need to recognise that complex transformation will take time when set alongside an increasingly stretching task to deliver high quality patient care day to day.”

Some 172 chairs and chief executives from 136 hospital, mental heath, community and ambulance trusts responded to the survey – over half of all England’s 238 NHS trusts.

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