Simon Stevens has set ‘five tests’ for whether the government’s spending review meets the NHS’s needs, including ‘front-loaded investment’, to fund the changes set out in the Five Year Forward View.

  • Stevens sets five tests for government funding of NHS
  • Include “front-loaded investment”, political support for change, protecting social care, and action on public health
  • Commissioning allocations will be published on 17 December and possibly cover three or four years

The NHS England chief executive was speaking at the organisation’s annual general meeting last night.

He said he welcomed the government’s support for the forward view, but added: “It is worth reminding ourselves what the NHS’s own plan requires…

Simon Stevens

Source: Peter Searle

Simon Stevens welcomed the government’s support for the forward view

“The way the NHS will look at the outcome of the funding decisions that will be made on 25 November [in the spending review] involves us thinking about five tests for which we will judge whether or not the spending review has delivered for the NHS.”

The first of his tests was “front-loaded investment in service transformation” to support the new models of care vanguard projects, and investment in technology.

A second test, Mr Stevens said, was whether the government’s “new asks” from the NHS were “consistent with phasing of the new investment”.

The government has committed to increasing NHS spending by £8bn in real terms by 2020. It is generally thought weighting this growth towards the beginning of the Parliament would favour the NHS, while the government may prefer the opposite, or phasing it equally.

Mr Stevens said the third test was the NHS would also require “continuing political support” for the “realistic but broad set of efficiencies” which would have to be made in the next few years.

He added: “We want a realistic, deliverable tariff efficiency for the next five years, and we know that we’re going to have to look at other aspects of the total cost base of the NHS with new eyes.”

Mr Stevens’ fourth test was investment and funding protection for social care services. He said the “whole care system” needed to be protected, not only the NHS. The fifth was for ministers to “make good on the public health opportunity”. He later called for government action to tackle obesity.

Stevens on…

NHS England and regulators’ approach: He said their current focus on individual organisations should shift to health economies. They wanted to “look at the offer that place based whole system working provides over the course of [the coming] five year period”.

Commissioning allocations: On funding allocations for the coming years, he confirmed the organisation wanted to ensure no clinical commissioning groups were more than 5 per cent below their target allocation next year. He said allocations would be issued on 17 December and “potentially” cover the next three or four years. NHS England was “trying to ensure that we have fairness” by bringing together allocations for CCG, primary care and specialised commissioning to “think about a place based approach to fair shares”.