GPs and nurses defend performance after Wanless criticism

Clinicians have defended their achievements as hard-working innovators, following criticism in the latest Wanless report on NHS performance.

Former NatWest bank chief executive Sir Derek Wanless reported this week on the results of five years of record funding for the NHS.

His report, commissioned by the King’s Fund think-tank, said that of the £43 billion extra spent on the NHS in that period, almost half had gone on pay and price inflation, while recruitment targets had been far exceeded. But the new staff deals had shown few significant benefits, he said.

Sir Derek warned against further structural changes to the NHS and called on the government to put public health issues at the top of the agenda to encourage healthier lifestyles.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said: ‘Doctors’ productivity can only be measured in the longer term as their ability to influence people’s health outcomes improves. The quality framework has already had an impact in reducing illness and this is the best measure of the way we work.’

RCN general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: ‘It now seems we’re at a crossroads. Yes, we need to carry on looking at ways to target investment more effectively but if we reduce spending now, then progress made will be progress lost.

‘What the NHS needs now, more than ever, are policies that ensure organisational stability and a Comprehensive Spending Review that delivers sustained funding.’

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