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QIPP programme may be unsustainable, say MPs

Savings made via the Government’s flagship NHS efficiency programme may not be sustainable or yield long-term results, an influential group of MPs has warned.

The House of Commons Health Committee - whose chair is Stephen Dorrell - said commissioners have already made ‘straight-forward’ efficiency savings, but that real ‘care transformation’ to ensure sustainability was lagging behind.

It criticised ‘fragmented’ commissioning and competition regulations as potential barriers to improving NHS sustainability going forward.

The report is a new blow delivered to the QIPP programme, after a recent King’s Fund survey of NHS managers showed that only one in ten NHS finance directors believed their chances of meeting their 2015 QIPP target were better than 50/50.

The QIPP programme, also known as the ‘Nicholson challenge’, set out to find £20bn worth of savings within the NHS between 2011/12 and 2014/2015. Submitting evidence to the committee’s enquiry, the Department of Health said PCTs had achieved £11.8bn of savings over the first two years of the programme.

But in a report published today, MPs concluded that: ‘The NHS has provided savings during the first two years of the programme, but… there is a question mark about how sustainable they are.

‘The straight-forward savings which are possible have now been made [but] the transformation of care that will be required to make the NHS sustainable in the future and able to deal with increasing demand has yet to take place.’

The committee also criticised the Government for a lack of transparency over how the money saved had been put to use, raising the issue that DH handed back billions of unused NHS budget back to the Treasury each year, as revealed by Pulse last year,

The report said: ‘[T]he key question, raised in evidence, is not “what has been saved?” but rather “what has the money saved been spent on?” That is currently not transparent, and more needs to be done to demonstrate what new activity has been possible because of the gains of the efficiency process.’

Readers' comments (5)

  • Efficiency savings easily made= cuts to frontline staff+ services.Now come difficult decision bvery painful cuts,Doubt thes will be made before the next election.The health an social care act seem like the emporers next clothes,lacking cohesion+ planningall they seem to have done is decimate health and social care and the good will of frontline staff.Is there any coming baclk from this?

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  • Like most others I know, we are running at well over optimal capacity. There are no more efficiency savings left and the service is held together by the rapidly dwindling goodwill that is left in the system.

    Further cuts will mean a reduction in services - it's as simple as that.

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  • Bob Hodges

    Eating the seedcorn?

    Who'd have though that it might be a bad idea eh?

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  • Vinci Ho

    First time the name Nicholson's challenge is mentioned long time after Mid Staffordshire scandal. Question : do we still have confidence |

    Bob Dylan – Blowin' In The Wind Lyrics
    How many roads most a man walk down
    Before you call him a man ?
    How many seas must a white dove sail
    Before she sleeps in the sand ?
    Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly
    Before they're forever banned ?
    The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
    The answer is blowin' in the wind.

    Yes, how many years can a mountain exist
    Before it's washed to the sea ?
    Yes, how many years can some people exist
    Before they're allowed to be free ?
    Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
    Pretending he just doesn't see ?
    The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
    The answer is blowin' in the wind.

    Yes, how many times must a man look up
    Before he can see the sky ?
    Yes, how many ears must one man have
    Before he can hear people cry ?
    Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
    That too many people have died ?
    The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
    The answer is blowin' in the wind.

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  • David Wrigley

    Many of us have been saying this for years! QIPP is a financial disaster for NHS and QIPP savings do not get reinvested in NHS - they are sent back to the Treasury. It is a complete scandal and destroying the NHS. This is why so many NHS organisations are in deficit. The NHS is not failing! It is politicians that are failing us..

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