The health secretary Jeremy Hunt has pinpointed the areas where the NHS could save £10bn to help close a looming financial gap in the health service.
The potential savings include cutting use of management consultants, releasing money from surplus NHS land and improving the use of technology.
“If we are to be truly financially sustainable we need to rethink how we spend money in a much more fundamental way,” Mr Hunt said.
Speaking at the King’s Fund yesterday, Mr Hunt outlined “the four pillars” of the government’s response to the NHS Five Year Forward View, which last month said the service had to make £22bn in efficiency savings by 2020 to close the funding gap created by rising patient demand.
He said the pillars were a strong economy, more integrated care closer to home, innovation and efficiency, and an open and transparent culture.
Mr Hunt outlined a number of saving areas which he said could contribute £7bn-£10bn to the £22bn target.
These included reducing the health service’s dependence on management consultants, which he said cost the NHS £500m a year, and making better use of surplus land and estate.
He said the NHS had to embrace technology and information.
All clinical commissioning groups will be asked by NHS England to collect and analyse expenditure on a per patient basis to pinpoint more clearly where there is the most potential to improve patient outcomes while reducing costs through better prevention.
However he added that for the NHS to use information more intelligently it had to win the public’s trust by making sure personal medical data was properly protected.
To help police the use of data, he announced Fiona Caldicott as the new “national data guardian”.