Magazine article Public Finance

Crisis Should Trigger Overhaul

Magazine article Public Finance

Crisis Should Trigger Overhaul

Article excerpt

The NHS winter crisis - which healthcare providers have called the "worst of their careers" - has been described as a "watershed moment" that should trigger a more sustainable funding plan for the health service.

NHS England data showed hospital bed occupancy hit 95% at the start of January and handovers by ambulance staff to hospitals were delayed by more than 30 minutes in 15% of cases.

The health body also told hospitals at the start of the year to defer non-urgent elective care procedures until the end of January to free up resources to cope with the huge demand over the winter.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of umbrella body the NHS Confederation, told PF: "Our members are consistently telling us that this is the worst winter they have experienced in their careers.

"We need to break out of the cycle which sees us stumbling from budget to budget and to rethink how we fund health and care services."

Phillippa Hentsch, head of analysis at membership organisation NHS Providers, said: "We have reached a watershed moment where the NHS can no longer deliver the long-established constitutional standards that reflect the quality of safety and care people should reasonably expect. …

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