26 / 6 / 2013 Midnight
Mike Farrar says with less money available for front line services the need to change services is more pressing than ever, while Dean Royles says we must maintain a focus on improving patient care and ensuring job security.
Commenting on today's Comprehensive Spending Review, Mike Farrar, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
"Although the health budget has been spared a reduction, it is important to remember that NHS organisations are facing significant pressures to meet growing demand and improve quality, and still need to find substantial efficiency savings."
On the announcement to introduce a pooled budget for health and social care services to help older and disabled people, Mr Farrar said:
"Social care budgets have really been squeezed over the past three years and this has had a big impact on the numbers of people we are seeing admitted to hospital as emergencies because the right support outside hospital is not available to them.
"This allocation should help address the need to join up services and provide the right care for people, allowing them stay in their own homes. But NHS organisations will want to have strong assurances that the money going to social care does the job it is meant to do. Rather than see local health and social care budgets as separate, we need to support integrated care by bringing together providers and commissioners to look at how we can spend our money to the best effect.
"To make a real improvement to the care people receive, we have to change the way we do things in the future, and ensure the NHS is able to provide care at the right time, in the right places. This settlement means NHS organisations will have less money available in real terms for front line services, so the need to change services is now more pressing than ever."
On the financial settlement, Mr Farrar said:
"Maintaining the ringfence for the NHS is vital, but it is important that the health service gets to spend what is allocated to it.
"Long-term investment and innovation in healthcare needs to be seen as a key part of the country's growth strategy, not an anchor holding it down."
Speaking about the need for political courage on the changes to the NHS in the run up to the general election, Mr Farrar said:
"It is really important that the Government explains to the public what it thinks the implications of today's announcement will be to our health services.
"This explanation needs to be looked at in the context of the long-term future of the health service and the impact that these decisions will have on local services."
On the announcement about performance related pay, Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation said:
"Despite a headline pay freeze, most NHS staff have been receiving incremental pay increases of around three per cent as they climb up through their pay bands. That is why we recently agreed changes to the NHS pay scheme with trade unions.
"Employers want to do everything they can to support staff and build morale but our biggest priorities must be maintaining and improving quality patient care and staff job security, both of which depend on sustainable pay bills and a focus on performance.
"We need to engage with our staff and unions to explore how we can come out of a period of pay restraint in a sustainable way, recognising the significant contribution of our staff to delivering high quality patient care."