NHS 10-year plan must create performance and financial ‘reset’

The chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, has outlined his vision for the NHS long-term plan during his opening speech at his organisation’s annual conference this morning.

Speaking to delegates at Manchester Central, Hopson said that the upcoming 10-year plan must act as a “reset” for NHS performance and finance targets.

He highlighted the difficulties currently facing the NHS – from rising demand for services, ever-tightening finances and workforce pressures – whilst singing the praises of frontline staff, who have “never worked harder” than they are now during an “incredibly frustrating paradox” of rising demand, record savings, yet constant missing of performance and financial targets, which results in a “cycle of public failure.”

“Whilst frontline staff have never worked harder, providers have now missed all the key performance standards for three years in a row and performance across the A&E, elective surgery and cancer standards is amongst the worst it’s been since those standards were introduced,” Hopson lamented.

He outlined five things he believes NHS trusts need from the long-term plan: realism on growing and more complex demands; rapid action to address workforce shortages; a realistic day-to-day operational task; a clearer plan to deliver transformation (including transition to integrated care systems); and a new relationship between national and local system leaders.

Hopson continued: “We need realism on the size, scope and nature of the demand challenge our NHS faces. And we need that realism reflected in all our plans, priorities and performance oversight. We need much better longer-term planning that takes a 10-year view of how demand will grow and change.”


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