Insights From King’s Fund Report On NHS Performance Under Coalition Government

Author:Ms Karen Taylor

This week the Kings Fund published its report 'The NHS under the coalition government'. This report examines the NHS's performance between 2010 and 2015, based on routinely available data (inputs such as funding and staffing and outputs such as hospital admissions and A&E attendances). It also draws on surveys of patient and staff experience; data on access and waiting times targets; and measures of safety and quality of care. The report concludes with an analysis of NHS productivity and an assessment of its prospects in the next parliament and beyond.1

This latest report by the King's Fund recognises that evaluations of performance are not straightforward and indeed are often contested, with competing views on how performance should be measured and the weight that should be attached to different aspects. However, given the King's Fund's experience and expertise in tracking and evaluating NHS performance we thought it would be helpful to share a short synopsis of the key findings and encourage you to read the report for yourselves to ensure you have a deeper understanding of the NHS's performance over the last five years and are thus better equipped to help improve services over the next five years. The main findings from the March 2015 report include:

NHS performance held up well for the first three years of the 2010–2015 parliament but has since come under increasing strain as its workload has increased at a faster rate than its funding has grown  Performance is declining with waiting times, bed occupancy and delayed discharges all increasing  Patient experience of the NHS generally remains markedly positive, and public confidence is close to an all-time high  The limited data on outcomes, safety and quality of care indicate some improvements, although concerns have increased over the limited emphasis given to mental health compared with physical health  The NHS is on track to record a substantial NHS deficit in the 2014-15 financial year, and the number of trusts reporting financial deficits has increased  Much of the NHS is working close to its limits, and staff morale is a growing concern – making prospects for NHS performance in the next parliament extremely challenging.2 The King's Fund analysis found that over the first three years 2009-10 to 2012-2013, the NHS appeared to be on track to deliver the savings set by the Nicholson Challenge (£20 billion a year by 2014-15). Much of this, however, being due pay restraint...

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