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NHS Needs Urgent Cash Injection

Friday, May 2, 2014

East Sussex NHS Trust Reported For Failing To Pay Pension Contributions As King Fund Warns That NHS Needs Urgent Cash Injection

The Kings Fund shows that a quarter of NHS trusts are already in deficit and patient care will suffer unless some serious money is injected into the NHS says GMB.

GMB, the union for staff in the NHS, responded to the news that East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust have been reported to The Pensions Regulators because they have failed to pay both their own and employee contributions to their occupational pension schemes. This followed a Kings Fund warning that a significant increase in funding is needed to prevent a financial crisis in the NHS, according to a new report from The King's Fund. See notes to editors for copy of press release.

Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer, said “GMB has learned that East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust have been reported to The Pensions Regulators (TPR) because even after their being sent several reminders to do so the Trust have failed to pay both their own and employee contributions to their money purchase occupational pension schemes. Therefore as a result of repeated failures to do so they have now been reported for breeches of the law, in accordance to the regulator, through their failure to pay contributions on time.

This is in the wake of a The Kings Fund report that shows that a quarter of NHS trusts are already in deficit. These trusts need urgent financial support. The report makes clear that patient care will suffer unless some serious money is injected into the NHS.

Asking NHS staff to do much more whilst attacking their pay and conditions isn't going to solve the financial gap in the NHS finances.

While GMB agrees that there is some scope for further efficiencies we agree with the Kings Fund that the main ways of reducing costs - holding down salaries, reducing the prices paid to hospitals and cutting management costs - have now almost been exhausted. The unnecessary top down reorganisation that is costing £4billion has not helped.

GMB members working in the NHS see daily the effects of the lack of NHS funding is having on their ability to deliver good quality health care.

A year after the government  passed section 75 of the Health Act the Kings Fund confirm that there is no evidence to suggest that involving private sector providers produces more efficient health services than the efficiency savings already been achieved. Section 75 was an addition by the government to the Health Act Competition Regulations that locked Clinical Commissioning Groups into arranging all purchasing through competitive markets.

The government was not satisfied with the pace of market intervention so they recently introduced clause 119 to the Care Bill so that they could expedite to asset strip hospitals that local communities want to save within 45 days, their mantra “no decision about you without you” was just a myth.

The Tories promised they could be trusted with the NHS. They promised they would cut the deficit not the NHS. GMB has no confidence that the Tory led government can get a grip on what is happening to the NHS or can be trusted with the NHS.

Let's face it the Tory party came out of the political wilderness because they said they could be trusted with the NHS.

We are seeing longer waiting times and falling staff morale. This shows that you can't trust the Tories with the NHS.

Papering over the cracks is not an option. There is a need for a public debate on the NHS. GMB is calling for the Party Leaders to have that public debate on the NHS before the next general election.”

End

Contact: Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer 07841 181656 or Gary Palmer in Sussex 07552 165950 or GMB Press Office on 07921 289880 or 020 7391 6755/56

Notes to editors

copy of Kings Fund press release

NHS funding increase needed as financial crisis looms

A significant increase in funding is needed to prevent a financial crisis in the NHS, according to a new report from The King's Fund.

The report finds that there are still significant opportunities to improve efficiency within the health service, for example by improving procurement and changing clinical practice. However, with more than a quarter of trusts already in deficit, the report warns that a financial crisis is now inevitable by 2015/16 and could arrive sooner than this, with damaging consequences for patient care.

The report highlights the progress made in improving efficiency in the face of the unprecedented slowdown in NHS funding since 2010. But it warns that the main ways of reducing costs - holding down salaries, reducing the prices paid to hospitals and cutting management costs - have now almost been exhausted.

Analysis conducted for the report shows that the NHS budget is under huge pressure. This will be exacerbated by the introduction of the Better Care Fund in 2015/16, which will divert a further £1.8 billion in NHS funding to support joint working with social care. In the long term, the report finds that on current projections, NHS spending as a proportion of GDP will fall to 6 per cent by 2021, its lowest level since 2003.

Crucially, the report argues that new funding should not be used to disguise the need for change by propping up unsustainable services. Instead it should be used for two distinct purposes:

to establish a health and social care transformation fund to meet the costs of service changes and invest in developing new models of care outside hospitals

to make emergency funding available to provide temporary support for otherwise sound NHS organisations experiencing difficulties as a result of the unprecedented pressures on their budgets.

The report, which is partly based on detailed research carried out in six NHS trusts, also identifies four key ways in which efficiency can be increased:

a stronger national focus on collating and disseminating good practice in improving efficiency

more emphasis on encouraging doctors, nurses and other frontline staff to identify and lead changes in clinical practice

stronger leadership at a regional level to plan and implement changes to services across large geographical areas

a more sophisticated approach to the way in which hospitals are paid and NHS organisations are incentivised to improve efficiency.

John Appleby, Chief Economist at The King's Fund and lead author of the report, said: ‘There is still scope to improve efficiency in the health service, and efforts to release savings should be re-doubled. However, it is now a question of when, not if, the NHS runs out of money. Without significant additional funding, this will lead to rising waiting times, cuts in staff and deteriorating quality of care. It is essential that politicians from all parties are honest about the scale of the financial pressures facing the NHS and initiate a public debate about the long-term sustainability of the health and social care system before, not after, the general election.'

Notes to editors:

The NHS productivity challenge: experience from the front line is published by The King’s Fund on 1 May 2014. For further information or to request an interview with a spokesperson, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on 020 7307 2585 (07584 146035 if calling out of hours).

The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and health care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible care is available to all.

 

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