A report by the King’s Fund calls for a ‘significant increase in funding’ for the health service, perhaps as much as £5bn a year ahead of inflation.
This funding should be invested in new models of primary and community care to create a more sustainable NHS, it argues.
More than a quarter of NHS trusts are now in deficit, and a health service financial crisis ‘is now inevitable by 2015/16’.
Significant opportunities remain for the NHS to improve efficiency and productivity by changing clinical practice and improving procurement, the report says.
Additional investment vital
But it warns that these efforts will fail to ease pressure on NHS funding without additional investment.
Extra NHS funding should not be used to prop up unsustainable services, the report warns, but to drive transformation of NHS services.
The report argues: ‘It should be an explicit investment to finance new care models in primary and community settings, and to help the hospital sector make the concomitant transition.
‘This would mean the creation of a health and social care transformation fund, which would be used to cover the double-running costs involved in establishing new services ahead of releasing resources from existing models of care.’