Front-line services will not escape cuts, warns NHS Confederation

Front-line services will almost certainly be affected as the NHS looks to make savings over then next five years, according to the NHS Confederation.

In a new report, NHS Confederation chief executive Nigel Edwards (pictured) warns that many assumptions about how the NHS will cope with the downturn are misleading.

Dealing with the Downturn: using the evidence warns that the scale of savings required in the NHS cannot be recovered from reducing management and acute sector costs alone.

Last year the NHS chief executive David Nicholson estimated that the NHS will need to find between £15 and £20bn between 2011 and 2014. Health secretary Andrew Lansley has maintained the savings can be made while front-line services are protected.

But in a report that will make difficult reading for Mr Lansley, Mr Edwards warns: ‘the changes that will be required are so significant that it is almost certain that front line services will be affected.’

Making services more accessible may generate greater demand, and moving services out of hospital does not necessarily reduce costs, the report also warns.

Mr Edwards is due to address the NHS Confederation conference in Liverpool today, with Mr Lansley speaking on Thursday.

In a second report due to be launched at the conference, the NHS Confederation warns against ‘poorly designed organisations’ and ‘hasty change’ as the NHS prepares for yet another restructure.

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