The Long Term Plan for the NHS will signal a reset on performance over the next five years, as frontline staff and managers continue to ensure record numbers of patients get the healthcare and support they need.
Our latest report on the performance of the provider sector, covering July to September 2018, shows that hospitals admitted nearly 1,000 more emergency patients a day than in the same period last year, treating 5.52 million patients within the four-hour target.
On top of this, hospitals have been able to discharge more patients from their services sooner, including reducing the number of beds occupied by patients who have been there for more than three weeks (classed as a ‘long-stay patients’), freeing up the equivalent of 2,470 beds in time for winter.
However, these achievements come as:
- waiting times for planned treatment, such as routine non-urgent operations, have increased
- vacancies for doctors and nurses still stand at over 100,000 despite some improvements
- the provider sector’s deficit is forecast to be £558 million by the end of March
The Long Term Plan will set out a clear path to recovery and for sustaining and improving patient care in England over the next decade, including how the £20.5 billion of additional real-terms funding from the government will be spent over the next five years from April 2019.
It will include a focus on preventing ill health and a commitment to invest £3.5 billion a year in primary and community healthcare services in order to cut avoidable hospital admissions and to help patients return home sooner. It will also seek to eliminate provider deficits.
‘The NHS is working flat out to ensure record numbers of patients get the care they need. Frontline staff and managers deserve tremendous praise for their heroism.
But this achievement continues to come at a cost with performance targets not being met nationally and hospitals being unable to balance their books to cover the increased demand on their services.
The Long Term Plan is our opportunity to fundamentally redesign how the NHS works so that it can continue to provide high-quality care for patients.’
Ian Dalton, Chief Executive of NHS Improvement