Health leaders set out new year plan for a sustainable NHS

NHS England allocates £1.98 billion of extra cash to every locality across England

The leaders of the NHS in England have set out new steps to be taken during 2015/16 to deliver the NHS five-year forward view.

Called The Forward View into action: planning for 2015/16, the planning guidance is backed by the recently-announced £1.98 billion of additional funding, with specific allocations for each area of England.

In allocating the £1.98 billion (which is on top of the cash the NHS was already expecting next year), NHS England is passing £1.5 billion to frontline health services including primary care, local clinical commissioning groups (CCG), and specialised services.

  • every CCG will get real terms budget increase. More of the extra funding for local health services is being used to more rapidly increase NHS budgets for those parts of the country with the greatest health needs, where the population is growing rapidly, and where services are under greatest pressure
  • spending on GP and primary care services will for the first time in a number of years grow in real terms at a higher rate than for other local health services, in recognition of the pressures in primary care
  • to begin tackling relative underinvestment in mental health services, every CCG will be expected to use its extra funding to increase funding for local mental health services in real terms next year by at least the level of the CCG’s overall funding growth. In addition a further £110 million of dedicated purchasing power is being injected nationally to improve services for people with severe mental health problems, with anxiety and depression, and with eating disorders particularly children and adolescents.

This is the first time ever that the annual planning guidance has been jointly produced for the entire NHS, and jointly produced by NHS England, Public Heath England, Monitor, the NHS Trust Development Authority, the Care Quality Commission and Health Education England. It:

  • sets outs seven approaches to a radical upgrade in prevention of illness, with England becoming the first country to implement a national evidence-based diabetes prevention programme
  • explains how £480 million of the extra funding (on top of the £1.5 billion described above) will be used to support transformation in primary care, mental health and local health economies;
  • makes clear the local NHS must work together to ensure patients receive the standards guaranteed by the NHS Constitution;
  • underlines the NHS’s commitment to giving doctors, nurses, other staff and carers access to all the data, information and knowledge they need to deliver the best possible care;
  • details how the NHS will accelerate innovation to become a world-leader in genomic medicine and testing and evaluating new ideas and techniques.

Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “Today we are allocating extra cash for towns, cities and villages across England to help the local NHS meet the rising demands and changing needs of the patients we’re all here to serve. Frontline nurses, doctors and other staff are working incredibly hard – including over this holiday period – but with a growing population and an aging population it’s clear the health service can’t just keep running to catch up. Instead we need to begin to radically reshape the way we care for patients, which is why there is such widespread support and enthusiasm for the NHS Five Year Forward View.”

Alongside The Forward View into action: planning for 2015/16, NHS England, Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority will also publish respective technical guidance documents for commissioners and providers.