Magazine article Public Finance

There's a Productivity Pot of Gold out There, Hewitt Tells Managers

Magazine article Public Finance

There's a Productivity Pot of Gold out There, Hewitt Tells Managers

Article excerpt

The NHS will not require large spending increases after 2008 as it sits on a 'potential pot of gold' in productivity savings, Health secretary Patricia Hewitt told the NHS Confederation annual conference in Birmingham.

Health service managers had earlier called on the government to continue the unprecedented levels of annual growth of the past fewyears or risk damaging patient care. However, Hewitt brushed their concerns aside as she delivered a tough message on future funding.

'Spending has doubled since 1997 and will have reached £90bn a year by 2008. By that time we will have tackled the historic under-investment in the NHS and eliminated many of its symptoms. So, while growth will continue, the unprecedented increases of recent years will no longer be necessary,' she said.

Hewitt acknowledged managers' concerns about delivering the government's reforms over the next five years. But she added: 'Quite apart from the funding increases committed for the next three years, a potential pot of gold is already in your hands. There are major productivity gains to be had from the extra investment already in the system. The onus is on you as managers to deliver that goal. …

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