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NHS Providers Conference round up

Ward Hadaway were present at the NHS Providers Conference to hear the latest updates from the sector’s leading representatives – here’s our brief summary.

NHS Providers Conference round up – Day 1

Chris Hopson

In his opening address of the conference, the Chief Executive of NHS Providers reflected on the current factors affecting the NHS – in particular considering the role of leadership during increasingly difficult times.

In particular, Mr Hopson recognised the “real pressure on our mental health and community services with a particular public focus on our inability to meet the rapidly growing demand for child and adolescent mental health services”.

Consequently, Mr Hopson stressed the need for:

  • Recognition of how difficult the current climate is;
  • Assurance that the tasks asked of local trust leaders can genuinely be delivered;
  • Recognition that local leaders are endeavouring to maximise the performance within their trusts; and
  • Continued and increased support.

Jim Mackey

Jim Mackey, the outgoing Chief Executive of NHS Improvement, used his speech to put forward his view that, unless the Chancellor commits to providing extra funding under his next budget, the NHS could “pop”.

In this regard, Mr Mackey explained that:

“More than half are managing the money, a much smaller proportion are managing in a sustainable way. It is far too tight, it is far too finely balanced. At what point does this pop? The worse thing is that it just pops in performance and the money deteriorates and we get back to where we were when we no longer have an investable proposition…

I hope that comes in this budget but at some point it needs to come. If it’s not this budget, it needs to be a budget in the future, hopefully before things pop.”

NHS Providers Conference round up – Day 2

Jeremy Hunt

The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt opened day two of the conference with his much anticipated speech within which he outlined his plans for a “new national workforce strategy”.

In particular, Mr Hunt spoke of various initiatives aimed at improving motivation, morale, leadership and flexible working in the NHS stressing that it is not enough to secure extra funding if the UK does not have the workforce to use it effectively.

Similarly, referencing Brexit, Mr Hunt explained:

“This government has been clear that we don’t need to be part of the EU to have strong protections for workers in place and in our modern and flexible economy, workers’ rights will be properly protected: in the NHS context that means simply that there can and must be no return to those long hours”.

Simon Stevens

The Chief Executive of NHS England used his speech to call for considerably increased funding, suggesting that for the UK to match the healthcare standards of other European nations a further £20-30bn is required.

Referencing this sentiment, following Mr Stevens’ speech the Chief Executive of the Health Foundation said:

“It is difficult to see how the intense financial pressures on the NHS will not threaten quality of care in the near future if nothing changes. Over four million people are currently waiting for treatment. The waiting list has already grown by nearly 1.4 million over the last five years.  Without an extra injection of funding it is entirely possible that the NHS waiting list could top five million before the end of 2020/21.”

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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