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Scale of the challenge facing the NHS

9 October 2009 - 3:25pm

Pressure on the healthcare system will result in a shortfall of around £15-20 billion over the next five or so years, NHS chief executive David Nicholson, told delegates at the chief health professions officer’s conference held in London earlier this week.

Drivers such as demographics, new technologies and National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommendations were responsible for the situation, he said.

Greater focus on QIPP

Despite making ‘the strongest case possible’ to government for more money, he said, it was clear that the cash was not there. One option for dealing with the challenge was ‘slash and burn’, or arbitrary freezes, Mr Nicholson said but added: ‘We know that this does not work and affects different parts of the service in an unplanned and unmanaged way’.

A greater focus on quality, innovation, productivity and prevention – known as QIPP - to improve productivity while driving up quality would shape the way that allied health professionals restructured how care was delivered to patients, he concluded.

'Where AHPs are at their best'

‘Look at the evidence for productivity gains, they are all at the interfaces between services. This is where AHPs are at their best.’

‘Transforming services in those areas are key to unlocking quality of services and reducing costs,’ Mr Nicholson added.

Emphasising that this could not be done from the top down, Mr Nicholson said the critical issue was clinical leadership. ‘It requires people like you to accept the challenge’.

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