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NHS is under "intolerable pressure" says NHS Confederation boss

The NHS Confederation has teamed up with the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and the Health Foundation – to conduct a comprehensive objective study into the funding needs of the UK’s health and care systems for the next 15 years.


The announcement was made by Chief Executive, Niall Dickson, in response to the latest NHS England performance figures, which he described as some of the worst since the data reporting began.


“They reflect intolerable pressure on a system which is understaffed and underfunded. This is an outcome we feared and consistently warned was likely to occur," says Dickson, adding that this is not about increased convenience but the safety of patients. This is now being put at risk.


“And it is not just hospitals that are under intolerable pressure – they are just the visible part of the NHS iceberg. More than 5,000 patients waited longer than 60 minutes last week in ambulances at A&E departments, community and mental health services and social care simply cannot meet demand, and GPs are at the end of their tether. Each of these services has a knock-on effect on the other – and now the system is gridlocked," Dickson continues.


“We need to break out of the cycle which sees us stumbling from budget to budget and to rethink how we fund health and care services. That means addressing both the short and long-term support needed to enable the health and care system to deliver the levels of service everyone expects."   


The NHS Confederation and IFS study is expected to result in a report later this year and the evidence will be used to stimulate a much more informed debate among politicians and the wider public about what is needed.


Dickson confirms that the first of two reports will be presented at the Confederation’s annual conference in June.