NAO report is reminder of 'huge challenges' faced by health service

Niall Dickson

Responding to the National Audit Office's report on NHS financial sustainability, out today, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:

"This is a sober assessment. It is a reminder of the huge challenges facing the NHS in England. In spite of promised extra funding, the finances of our health system are in a precarious state. 

Hospital and community services are reporting an underlying deficit of £1.85 billion and this, together with rising demand and a workforce crisis, means it will be incredibly difficult to make the service sustainable. The latest planning guidance is an attempt to support organisations move back into balance, but this will take time.

The extra money from the government is of course welcome but as the NAO highlights, it does not cover key areas of health spending such as education, public health and capital investment. As we have also repeatedly pointed out, the NAO says this could affect the NHS's ability to deliver the priorities of the long-term plan. The same is true of social care funding.

All this says the NHS Long Term Plan is just part of the story – to determine whether it can be delivered we need to know the fate of those other vital areas of spending and it is regrettable that they have been delayed until the spending review which will not kick in until 2020.

Latest Tweets

Latest Blog Post

Destination Switzerland: First major multilateral health discussions of 2019 | Layla McCay

15 / 2 / 2019 10.19am

Two major Switzerland-based international events relevant to health were held in January: The World Economic Forum and the World Health Organization Executive Board. Layla McCay, director of international relations at the NHS Confederation shares some highlights.

Why Register?

Great reasons to register with NHS Confederation

  • Access exclusive resources 
    Access member-only resources and tailor member benefits and services
  • Personalise your website
    Select topics of interest for recommended content
  • Comment and recommend
    Rate and share content with colleagues
  • Never miss a thing
    Register now to keep your finger on the pulse of the NHS Confederation

Log In

To book events and access member only content you need to register with us.  This only takes a moment via our registration page. If you have already registered login using your email address and password below.