• Chief executive of NHS Providers said “there is little evidence” new care models will “release sufficient savings”
  • He expects timeline of service reconfiguration to take five to 15 years
  • Current operational pressure on NHS is “sucking up” management capacity to implement change

New care models are “not going to be the answer” to the NHS funding gap, and will take much longer than five years to implement, according to NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson.

Speaking at a Westminster Health Forum event new care models today, Mr Hopson said: “There is little evidence that moving to new care models will release rapid or sufficient savings.”

He also queried the speed of transformation expected. “It is pretty clear to us that it is much more complicated and difficult than we had thought. The view that this was to take three to five years is profoundly mistaken, for us this is a five to 15 year journey,” he said.

Mr Hopson said that, while there was “clear evidence” that new care models can “rapidly change patient outcomes and can engage and enthuse clinicians in service change”, the strain on the service was slowing down change.

“The current degree of operational pressure in the system is sucking up management bandwidth needed for transformation,” he said. “People are working day to day to keep upright.” He also commented he had “never seen a system under the degree of population pressure that the NHS is currently under”.

He questioned the NHS’s long term planning, saying “no one has though through care” past 2020. He said: “[We] have to take a longer term view on how we are going to meet problems coming down the track that are beyond our immediate nose.”

He also said new care model “vanguards want to change much, much more than they anticipated”, and that the NHS needed to review its governance, regulation and funding models as they were “acting as a pretty big drag on everyone else moving to new care models”.

Mr Hopson’s comments following him raising concerns about NHS funding and performance in high-profile media appearances yesterday.