NHS England has published its annual report, detailing its performance against Government expectations and financial and clinical targets.
The report discusses NHS England’s provision for the needs of an ageing and growing population, in the context of a “constrained budget by historic standards“. There are no major policy announcements as part of the report, which instead summarises progress over the previous year.
The report details NHS England’s moves to improve efficiency, including through the Long Term Plan, and the integration of NHS England and NHS Improvement including a push to save 20% in organisational costs from the two bodies. The report also also lauds staff for improvements in NHS efficiency.
“Seventy years ago Aneurin Bevan predicted that the Health Service ‘must always be changing, growing and evolving” so that “it must always appear to be inadequate’. As the Chair’s report on page 7 and the performance report from page 17 set out, the past year has continued to see both progress and pressure across the frontline of NHS care.”
– Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England
The report is candid about many of the challenges facing the NHS, noting the 100,000 vacancies across the NHS, concerns around the impact of Brexit, and limitations on capital expenditure used to build, equip and maintain hospitals, reporting that this has fallen 17% since the start of the decade.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, has also published his yearly appraisal of NHS England. Mr Hancock said:
“The NHS is this country’s most valued public service and we’re rightly supporting it with an extra £33.9 billion a year in vital funding by 2023 to 2024 as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.
“We want to ensure this money benefits the frontline to help them deliver a sustainable and efficient health service across the country and we will be working with the NHS to safeguard our nation’s health for generations to come.”