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NHS Confederation comments on PAC report on financial sustainability of the NHS

Mike Farrar says a frank conversation with the public is needed about how to deal with financial challanges facing the NHS. Mike Farrar, NHS Confederation chief executive, said:

"This is a hugely important report and one that the Government, the NHS, regulators and the Department of Health should carefully consider. 

"We need the Government to accept that financial pressures are the biggest facing the NHS at the moment. We cannot deal with these issues on a piecemeal basis. We need a frank conversation with the public about how we deal with these problems.

“Solving these problems requires a fundamental overhaul of where and how NHS services are provided. Propping up struggling trusts with short term solutions is not the answer. We need to take action before we reach crisis point.

"We must ensure the rules developed to deal with 'failing trusts' are clear and flexible enough to allow organisations to act quickly and tackle problems long before they reach breaking point.

"We agree with the committee that there is an urgent need to establish a joined-up, whole-system solution to address these financial problems. We need to look beyond the individual organisations affected and consider hospital, primary, community and social care services across a local area to determine how we can put patient care back on a financially sustainable footing.

“This is the time for the NHS Commissioning Board to help providers, not with bail outs, but by releasing money to new clinical commissioning groups so they can work with providers to help put them on a sustainable footing by changing the type and range of services they provide.

On the issue of PFI, Mr Farrar said:

“It is important not to overstate the impact of PFI. It is part of the story, but the fundamental issues are much deeper. We absolutely need to look at alternative funding models for financing NHS estates, but we must also remember that PFI is not the sole reason why organisations find themselves in financial distress."

Notes to Editors

he NHS Confederation represents all organisations that commission and provide NHS services. It is the only membership body to bring together and speak on behalf of the whole of the NHS. We help the NHS to guarantee high standards of care for patients and best value for taxpayers by representing our members and working together with our health and social care partners.

We make sense of the whole health system, influence health policy and deliver industry-wide support functions for the NHS.

Follow the NHS Confederation press office on Twitter @NHSConfed_Press

A full list of NHS Confederation press releases and statements can be accessed on our media page

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Georgie Agass
020 7799 8637

Francesca Reville
020 7799 8633

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