Service cuts seen as way to savings by NHS managers

Closing hospital wards and cutting services are seen by NHS financial directors as the best way to meet productivity targets, research by the King's Fund suggests.

In a report entitled How is the NHS performing?, the think tank presented the views of a panel of NHS financial directors on ways to make savings and meet productivity targets.

Of the 26 panel members, 12 cited ‘closing hospital wards and reducing services', as options, the report said.

Only six panel members cited ‘back office efficiencies’ as a key way to meet targets, however a number of others were ‘sceptical about the savings to be made through this route,’ the report said.

‘Workforce changes, redesigning services to improve efficiency and reducing lengths of stay in hospital,’ were also discussed as ways to meet targets.

Two thirds of the panel members feared they would not meet productivity targets in 2011/12.

King's Fund chief economist Professor John Appleby said the report highlighted 'significant concern among NHS finance directors, who are well placed to report on the stresses in the system, about the prospects for the year ahead.'

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