The NHS is facing increasing demands: an ageing population, the cost of advances in science and technology, and rising public expectations. It must meet these demands from within its current real terms funding, while at the same time improving quality. Outgoing NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson has called on Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to formulate 3-5 year plans to help address a further funding gap of £30 billion by 2020/21. Announcing the “Call to Action” in the summer of 2013, Nicholson said:
“Our analysis shows that if we continue with the current model of care and expected funding levels, we could have a funding gap of £30bn between 2013/14 and 2020/21, which will continue to grow and grow quickly if action isn’t taken. This is on top of the £20bn of efficiency savings already being met. This gap cannot be solved from the public purse but by freeing up NHS services and staff from old style practices and buildings.”
With one third of NHS hospital trusts heading to be in deficit by April 2014, it is clear that all parts of the health service will need to take bold, long-term measures to secure sustainable change. It is not an option to continue as before – the NHS needs to radically transform how it delivers services.
This will prove a game-changer for how NHS commissioning and procurement are managed. Radical steps are being taken to deliver £2bn procurement savings by 2015/16. Success will inevitably lead to more ambitious expectations and even more radical change. This will present a major challenge to the management of trusts, commissioners, clinicians, operational staff and procurement personnel. It will present a great opportunity for new and innovative suppliers.
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