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News archive - September/October 2011

Further £5bn may be needed to rescue trusts, says report

Further £5bn may be needed to rescue trusts, says report

UP TO 40 hospitals could fail by 2013 without radical reform of their working practices, according to a report from the think tank Reform by Professor Paul Corrigan, a former health adviser to Tony Blair.

Some hospitals have been facing financial pressures for years, often associated with the delivery of poor quality care. Currently, hospital failure is averted by interim financial support, yet if the Government is to continue to protect all of England’s hospitals from closure or reconfiguration then this “inefficient hospital fund” could grow to as much as £8 billion, says the report. This would mean an extra £5 billion would be needed to bailout the NHS by 2013.

NHS hospitals currently try to be all things to all people and deliver every healthcare service to everyone. Professor Corrigan and co-author Caroline Mitchell believe that this is no longer clinically or financially sustainable and it holds the NHS back from delivering better, safer and higher quality care. To survive hospitals need to change their business models. They should become either “solution shops”, which focus on diagnosing patients, or organise treatment efficiently and safely in a “factory” mode or production that delivers “valued added processes” for patients.

Alongside hospital turnarounds, integrated care services will have to be organised around patients outside the hospital settings, says the report. Integrated care demands that more services are delivered in the community and home, harnessing the potential of modern medicine and the latest technologies.

Responding to the report, Health Minister Simon Burns commented: “Few now deny the NHS must change to meet future challenges. But we believe the NHS should be the opposite of a factory-style operation and instead offer patients high quality, tailored care. That is why our plan gives freedom and control to doctors and nurses, and puts patients at the heart of everything it does.”

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