King's Fund says NHS efficiency drive could damage patient care
By Tom Ireland, 28 April 2010
The NHS cannot cut costs without significantly damaging patient care, according to the King's Fund's chief economist John Appleby.
During a debate between clinicians and health experts at the think tank's London headquarters, Mr Appleby said there would always be trusts where quality drops because of financial pressure.
Mr Appleby was arguing 'for' the motion that 'this house believes the NHS cannot cut costs without substantially damaging the quality of health care,' as part of a discussion on the effects of the financial squeeze.
‘The NHS is poor at measuring quality, and what goes "unobserved" can be at risk when the focus is on what gets measured - savings,' said Mr Appleby.
It is widely accepted that the NHS in England needs to find productivity improvements valued at £20bn over the next five years as investment slows and demand grows. A panel of experts assembled by the King's Fund discussed whether the funding shortfall could be overcome by productivity alone or whether cuts were inevitable.
Honest conversation about the scale of the problems facing the NHS had stalled as the election approached, the panel agreed.
Professor Paul Corrigan, a former health adviser to Tony Blair, argued that the NHS could find such efficiencies without compromising quality.
More proactive medicine and self-care could reduce demand in primary care, said Professor Corrigan, who described general practice as ‘a GP waiting in a room for people to come in who think they are sick'.
A tariff should also be developed to incentivise hospitals to look after a patient for the whole year, including keeping them out of hospital, said Professor Corrigan.
Professor Steve Field, also speaking at the event, said GPs needed to ‘grow up' and start to look at how they can work in federations and integrate with secondary care colleagues without extra resources.
Send to a friend
Latest Stories from GP
Latest jobs Jobs web feed
- Salaried GP's Avicenna Medical Practice Negotiable and to include benefits, Bradford, West Yorkshire
- Part-Time Salaried GP (with a view to Partnership) Culcheth Medical Centre Competitive Salary, Warrington, Cheshire
- Full-Time Partner Badgerswood Surgery Negotiable, Hampshire/Surrey/West Sussex Border
- Full Time Partner/Salaried GP (8 sessions) to replace retiring Partner Stirling Road Surgery Details available on request, Devon
- 7 session Partner Chobham and West End Medical Practice Profit Sharing Partner, North West Surrey
- SALARIED /LONG TERM LOCUM LEADING TO FIXED SHARE PARTNERSHIP White City Health Centre £70000 TO £80000 but salary negotiable and dependent on experience and qualifications., London W12 7PH & Southall UB1 1JH
- Harmoni admits running out-of-hours centre with no doctors
- GPs should take on 30% of A&E work, say emergency doctors
- Fears over NHS England capacity to manage general practice
- GPs launch national federation to counter rising pressure on practices
- TV show seeks GP couple as presenters
- Dementia diagnosis must accelerate, warns Hunt
MIMS Drug Search
Possible searches include drugs (by brand, generic ingredient or drug class), diseases and more.