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NHS risks ‘sleepwalking’ into the future without long term plans, says think-tank head


By Carolyn Wickware
6 June 2017

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The NHS needs to plan further into the future if it is to remain fit for the next generation, the head of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) has said.

Mark Orchard, president of HFMA, has said there has been no meaningful public debate on how the NHS will work over the next two generations.

The House of Lords Committee on the Long-Term Sustainability of the NHS criticised successive governments in April for their ‘short-sightedness’ and failure to plan for the health care in the long term.

The NHS needs to plan further into the future if it is to remain fit for the next generation, the head of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) has said.

Mark Orchard, president of HFMA, has said there has been no meaningful public debate on how the NHS will work over the next two generations.

The House of Lords Committee on the Long-Term Sustainability of the NHS criticised successive governments in April for their ‘short-sightedness’ and failure to plan for the health care in the long term.

Ahead of this week’s general election, no political party manifesto plans beyond 2022, which Mr Orchard said presents a ‘perpetual cyclical challenge’ for the NHS and social care.

The blog, NHS 70-100: a new hope, said that while the Five Year Forward View is ‘very welcome’ but the foundations need to be laid for the NHS’s centenary in 2048.

He said: ‘The alternative is sleepwalking into a forward reality that incrementally assumes, at best, more of the same.’

He added that in addition to a lack of funding, the NHS will face the challenge of continuing to offer everyone extensive care as evidence suggests the number of people living beyond 80 will double in 30 years, with a six-fold increase in the number of centenarians.

Mr Orchard called for a 30-year forward view with ‘conditions’ for a reformed NHS, including a ‘relentless waste avoidance drive’, a ‘single national IT dataset’ and more ‘realistic workforce planning’.

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