Hospitals must restructure to keep NHS afloat, MPs warn

Every NHS hospital could be forced to restructure significantly for the health service to remain financially sustainable, MPs have warned.

DH: accused of making up financial failure rules 'on the hoof'
DH: accused of making up financial failure rules 'on the hoof'

Commissioning in England could become more fragmented after clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) replace PCTs next year, the House of Commons public accounts committee warned today. But services will need to be reconfigured 'significantly' to deliver the scale of efficiency savings needed for the NHS to become financially sustainable, it warned.

A 'growing number' of NHS trusts and foundation trusts are in financial difficulty, a report by the committee warned, but rules to decide when they are put into 'special administration' appear to be decided 'on the hoof'.

The report, Securing the future financial sustainability of the NHS, said: ‘As the role of hospitals changes and more services are provided in the community it is possible that every trust in the country will have to restructure.

‘If changes are not made to concentrate and centralise hospital services, and deliver more services in the community, even greater efficiencies will be needed in hospitals to avoid waiting lists rising.'

Health minister Lord Howe said the NHS was in ‘robust financial health’. ‘We have already stated that we are not going to endlessly support trusts with historic financial problems but we know that some hospitals face difficulties and need to radically change to make sure they are providing the highest quality of care to patients,' he said.

* Blog by National Association of Primary Care chairman Dr Charles Alessi: Too many hospitals but consensus lacking on our doorsteps

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