The Health Foundation and the King’s Fund have called for a dedicated ‘Transformation Fund’ to help deliver change for the NHS.
A new report from the two organisations – Making change possible: a Transformation Fund for the NHS – says that this fund should support investment in four key areas that can aid transformation: staff time, programme infrastructure, physical infrastructure and double-running costs.
It would also require a single body with “strong, expert leadership” to oversee the investment for transformative change in the NHS.
“‘Business as usual’ is not sustainable,” the authors say. “But that does not mean the NHS is fundamentally unsustainable.
“There are opportunities to run services more efficiently and models of care that will secure high-quality, efficient and effective health care for the population. But these require the NHS to change, and change fundamentally.”
However the investment that would be required for such a fund is significant – $1.5-2.1 billion a year in dedicated funding between now and 2020. Although this could be achieved partly by pooling together existing strands of transformation funding, the report says that more resources will be needed on top of the £8 billion increase in funding that the government is already providing the cash-strapped health service.
“We recognise that providing additional financial support for the NHS is currently exceptionally challenging,” the authors say, “especially given the hardships in other areas of the public sector. However, the alternative is to risk a decline in the quality and safety of NHS-funded care.
“Without resources specifically earmarked for transformation, there is a risk that the NHS will be unable to become more productive and that the bill for additional running costs will only get larger.”