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Efficiency drive redirects £162m to frontline services

The Department of Health is to make an extra £162m available for frontline services after a successful efficiency drive, the health secretary has announced.

Andrew Lansley said savings made in consultancy, IT, administration and advertising would be used to help patients to leave hospital more quickly, receive support at home, and to prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital.

The money will be given to primary care trusts and local authorities, who will decide how best to use the funding to relieve additional pressures on hospitals over the winter period.

Mr Lansley said: “Savings have been made in the Department of Health’s budget which can now be invested in frontline NHS services.

“It’s really important, particularly at this time of year, that we help people to leave hospital as quickly as they can, when they are ready.

“The latest figures show that 2,575 beds are unavailable due to delayed transfers of care.”

The health secretary added that older people often needed particular support after a spell in hospital to settle back into their homes, recover their strength and regain their independence.

Mr Lansley went on: “This additional investment for health and care services is the result of determination to deliver savings, maintain quality and invest in services that matter to patients and their families and carers during the critical winter season.”

The funding will bring forward plans being put in place by health and local authorities to work together using NHS funding to support social care, as announced in the government spending review.

The Department of Health said the extra £162m of funding was in addition to the previously announced £70m that the NHS will spend this year on “reablement” services.

The efficiency savings had been made by applying controls over central spending on consultancy, IT, administration and advertising common across all of government, the department said.

Readers' comments (9)

  • That should enable CEOs to get their limos back and upgrade to the better hotels then. £164m is 0.15 of one percent. It's the same amount DH dish out every year as a bung. It's probably an amount of money on paper rather than being cash backed! Or if it is patients will never see it.

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  • I look forward to the DoH publishing more detail on these efficiency savings if only to dispel the reliable assumption that such claims are in the realm of smoke and mirrors and do not represent creative accounting and/or cuts.

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  • I agree with Patrick Newman - is this real money or more of the phoney stuff. My PCT has supposedly just been given 3% increase. After deducting passthrough monies to local government and 'its in your baseline', we'll get closer to 2%.

    Any idiot can reduce overgenerous budgets and then give PCTs some scraps.

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  • Ian Bowns

    I wonder if any of this has been shaved off central public health funds (e.g. flu publicity campaign) to reduce the baseline for allocation to the new service? I'm not usually a conspiracy theorist, but I'll make an exception in Mr Lansley's case.

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  • It's depressing how easily money is found when needed to counteract politically sensitive issues, but not for sorting out the NHS to avoid these issues arising in the first place.
    "Investment in frontline services" should mean more clinical staff being recruited, including community-based staff; but this hardly seems believable in the present climate, so regretably I agree with the comments above that this money will stay within PCTs and be frittered away without any clear accountability as to its use.

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  • Given how ineficient NHS IT support is generally and how expensive yet useless most consulting firms advice is I am surprised they weren't able to generate far more from cutting back on these wasteful support services!

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  • I am really surprised at some of the negative comments.Is there no end to the cynicism of NHS managers? It is real money diverted to frontline services. As anon 12.11 indicates it may only be a start but it should be recognised as being a start. How many liuves will it save and people will it help.

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  • I am not really sure this is an "efficiency" saving. They are just not spending money on consultancy costs which would shouldn't have been spent anyway. If this is how we are going to count efficiency savings going forward we are not going to get much investment in the frontline. It is cost avoidance not efficency.

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  • Ian Bowns

    ANON 9:37 I largely agree with you and shouldn't have been looking for the cloud inside the silver lining, but people do so because the system has taught them to do so.

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