A former Health Minister has criticised those responsible for spearheading the government’s £20bn NHS efficiency savings for “not getting the narrative”.
Speaking at think tank Reform’s conference last week (13 June), the Chair of the Health Committee Stephen Dorrell said senior politicians such as Health Secretary Andrew Lansley and committee members as well as NHS leaders including Chief Executive David Nicholson may see the efficiency savings challenge and speak the language but in actual fact they “don’t get it”.
While he said there will be “one or two” in the pool of people mentioned that will be the exceptions, Dorrell said there “wouldn’t be many”.
“Anyone who thinks we can make 4% efficiency savings year on year without anybody noticing, doesn’t get it,” he said.
“Everybody knows the numbers but they have no concept what it means.
“All of us need to make sure we are not just mouthing the words but we understand what the words mean in practice.”
Dorrell claimed the local political community through the Health and Well Being Boards will be the key to meeting the government’s QIPP (Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention) targets.
He said they will be essential to engaging the public and justifying the changes that need to be made to increase productivity on little resources.
“I started off a skeptic about Health and Well Being boards but increasingly I see them as important instrument for engaging support within the local community and strengthening the links with the rest of the health and social care system – beyond the NHS,” he said.
However, Dorrell said it will be a challenge to expect local politicians to “get” the NHS efficiency challenge when national politicians don’t.