Kings Fund report: "Making change will require a fundamental shift in approach"

Like much of the NHS, Primary Care is facing a time of change and challenges, with issues being exacerbated by a lack of funds and a shortage of potential staff. This week the King’s Fund published their ‘Better value in the NHS report, in a bid to alter the NHS’ outlook on how to get the most out of their budget.

The Five Year Forward View has called for £22 billion in savings by 2020 and the King’s Fund report has proposed that this can be achieved by ‘focusing on improving value and engaging clinicians at all levels in delivering better outcomes at a lower cost.’

The report focuses on three areas that have seen vast improvements in terms of gains and productivity over the past few years – day case surgery, length of stay and generic prescribing, as well as area that could be improved or there are opportunities to improve in over the coming years. These might include improving the way care is delivered to particular patient groups (i.e those with numerous or long-term conditions etc.).

‘Better value in the NHS’ highlights how the increased level of generic prescribing over 37 years saved the NHS £7.1 billion, while an increase in day surgery rates has saved £2 billion.

The report is proposing that we look at these past trends as a means of improving services going forward.

Several other areas are also underlined as prime opportunities for the NHS to improve spending; these include inappropriate care (overuse, underuse and misuse) which the report describes as ‘common and costly across the NHS’, ‘unnecessary and avoidable’ variations in clinical practice. Although it also suggests that the examples provided are ‘illustrative not exhaustive.’

While presented the many opportunities available, the King’s Fund’s report does stress that a change in approach from everyone involved is necessary, but especially those at the top.

“Making change happen will require a fundamental shift in approach by government and NHS leaders – away from using external pressures to improve NHS performance towards a commitment to supporting reform from within the NHS. It will also require recognition that the challenge facing the NHS over the coming years is fundamentally about improving value rather than reducing costs.”

For more information on the report click here.


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