4,319 members and growing, are your details correct please LOGIN and update NOW
HCSA LONDON & SOUTH REGIONAL EIS EVENT Back in May 2025 Date to be announced later in November 2024
HCSA MIDLANDS REGIONAL EIS EVENT Back in June 2025 Date to be announced later in November 2024
2024 HCSA NORTH REGIONAL EIS EVENT Invites going out late May, Venue: 4th July, Queens Hotel Leeds
Women's Network Conference Holiday Inn Regents Park 4th September 2024, Opening July 2024
HCSA Annual Conference 13 & 14 November 2024 Telford International Centre ON SALE NOW BOOK EARLY to save disappointment
Close Search

Health leaders in England are calling on the next government to protect local NHS organisations from having to further cut staffing levels to make ends meet at a time when the needs of their patients are so high.

In a survey of NHS leaders across trusts, integrated care boards (ICBs) and primary care in England, some local NHS organisations are already cutting or freezing posts to balance their books. They fear local services are trapped in a cycle of short-termism where immediate cuts to meet financial targets are having to be prioritised over long term plans to improve and transform local services.

The survey was carried out during late April and early May – a time when the NHS has been coming to terms with the “flat” revenue settlement set in the Spring Budget. The NHS has been set an annual efficiency target of 2.2%, despite many organisations starting the financial year in a worse underlying state due to industrial action and other cost pressures. As the NHS Confederation survey shows, many local NHS organisations are facing much higher efficiency targets that will impact on their staffing levels.

The rate of NHS productivity growth has averaged 0.9 per cent over the past 25 years, with the NHS often delivering higher productivity improvements than the wider economy. However, the NHS leaders responding to the survey said that they need, on average, to make efficiency savings of 6% in 2024/25, with local services facing targets ranging from 1.6% all the way up to 11%.

Recently, the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that real-terms spending on the NHS had risen less quickly than was pledged at the last general election five years ago. This squeeze on NHS spending is likely to be compounded by the main political parties committing this week to no further tax increases, which the IFS say will further constrain spending on public services.

In response to this, some health leaders are having to take “drastic measures” to balance the books, with cuts to agency spending, freezing vacancies and cuts to clinical and managerial and administrative staff the most effected. This is to cover what is estimated to be a larger projected deficit in the financial plans of local integrated care systems (ICS) than has been seen in recent years. This could lead to further cuts to capital and other budgets.

Cuts to staff come at a time when the latest data shows there are over 100,000 vacancies across the NHS in England, including nearly 9,000 medical posts. This short-term risk to freeze or cut posts could be seen to go against the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan’s commitment to grow the NHS’s headcount so that it can meet the needs of patients and respond to rising demand.

The main political parties appear to agree that the NHS must grow its workforce, yet without appropriate levels of funding locally that are matched to the efficiency asks of the NHS, many health leaders feel as though they have no choice but to cut back.

An NHS trust chair said: “Our financial position is really difficult. We're expected to make very substantial efficiency savings, larger than the NHS has ever achieved, at the same time as facing extraordinary levels of demand.”

An NHS trust chief executive added: “I do not believe that it is possible for us to deliver all our financial, performance, workforce and quality/safety requirements next year – something has to give.”

Read full article

Date: 3 June

Posted in News on Jun 02, 2024

Back to News