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Report cover

NHS (England) Summarised Accounts 2006-07

“The NHS achieved a surplus in 2006-07 after a period of rising deficits. But this is not a time to be complacent; both the Department and the NHS accept that a number of challenges remain.

“The national picture is one of financial balance, but there remains a relatively small core of NHS organisations that continue to report significant deficits. There is no doubt that good financial management is linked to good patient care in the long term. A failure to keep a tight grip on financial performance will undermine service quality, an area in which the NHS must not let patients down.”

Published:
11 Dec 2007
Report cover showing a nurse looking after a baby

Caring for Vulnerable Babies: The Reorganisation of neonatal services in England

“Neonatal services are a challenging and necessarily innovative area of medicine, caring for some of the National Health Service’s most vulnerable patients who must receive the best care possible. Efforts made by the Department to improve the service to date are encouraging, but there is still more to do. Top of the list must be addressing the staffing and capacity problems. And it is impossible to say whether the introduction of networks have improved the overall value for money of the service because of the lack of data on outcomes and the variable state, and use of, financial management information.”

Published:
19 Dec 2007
Report cover showing male and female cut outs

Releasing resources to the frontline: the Department of Health’s Review of its Arm’s Length Bodies

“The Department should be commended for its management of the review, having achieved its savings targets. But there are lessons to be learnt more generally about making sure that targets are clear and focused on delivering value for money and improving performance. And it is essential that departments are able to measure their progress against a clear set of baselines, which need to be identified before projects start.”

Published:
25 Jan 2008
Report cover showing a doctor checking a child

NHS Pay Modernisation: New contracts for general practice services in England

“There is no doubt that a new GP contract was needed and there are now 4,000 more GPs than five years ago. But in return for higher pay, we have yet to see real increases in productivity. The extra money flowing into practices has largely benefited GP partners rather than rewarding other important members of the practice team. Primary Care Trusts now need to deliver to patients the benefits that were expected in return for GPs increase in pay.”

Published:
28 Feb 2008
Report cover showing a doctor with a patient

The National Programme for IT in the NHS: Progress since 2006

“The scale of the challenge involved in delivering the National Programme for IT has proved to be far greater than envisaged at the start, with serious delays in delivering the new care records systems. Progress is being made, however, and financial savings and other benefits are beginning to emerge. The priority now is to finish developing and deploying care records systems that will help NHS Trusts to achieve the Programme’s intended benefits of improved services and better patient care.”

Published:
16 May 2008
Report cover showing two people discussing complaints

Feeding back? Learning from complaints handling in health and social care

“The complaints systems for health and social care are not yet as accessible and responsive as they could be. There is a lack of learning from complaints, and providers are not making clear to users that services are being improved as result. Adequate staff training; proper tackling of complaints; and evidence of improvements in response to complaints are key pointers for the planned introduction of a new comprehensive complaints system across health and social care next year.”

Published:
10 Oct 2008
Report cover showing a 17 Century painting of a man pouring alcohol into a bowl in a drinking establishment

Reducing Alcohol Harm: Health services in England for alcohol misuse

“Alcohol misuse constitutes a heavy and increasing burden on the NHS. If services to tackle alcohol misuse are going to make a bigger difference, Primary Care Trusts need to understand better the scale of the problem in their local communities. With its increased focus on the prevention of lifestyle-related illness, the Department of Health could, for example, do more to convince Trusts about the value of timely advice to help people develop safer drinking patterns.”

Published:
29 Oct 2008
report cover showing the entrance to St Christopher's hospice

End of life care

“Good end of life care should mean that people are treated with dignity and respect and, where possible, in their preferred place of care. Some people receive high standards of care in their final weeks, days and hours, but others do not. Organisations responsible for the care of people approaching the end of their life need to improve the planning and delivery of services, particularly support in the community. There is scope to make these improvements by using both existing and planned additional resources more efficiently and effectively.”

Published:
26 Nov 2008
Report cover showing stethoscope

Financial Management in the NHS: Report on the NHS Summarised Accounts 2007-08

“The surplus of £1.67 billion is equivalent to about one week’s funding for the whole NHS. The organisations in the NHS are performing better financially and this surplus has created an element of certainty for financial planning that has not existed in recent years. This is especially reassuring given current financial pressures throughout the economy.

“Auditors have found matters to be addressed, such as localised accounting issues, and there are long-standing financial problems affecting a minority of trusts. The significant challenges for the NHS next year are in meeting new International Financial Reporting Standards and tougher deadlines on closure of accounts, but it looks as though most NHS bodies are well placed to cope.”

Tim Burr, the head of the National Audit Office, said:

“Good financial management is not just about achieving a surplus. It is also about meeting delivery targets within the resources available. The surplus was generated through good financial management: NHS bodies delivered more cost savings than expected while still delivering against targets and improving the quality of healthcare. But better forecasting of the outcome could enable resources to be deployed more flexibly in-year.”

Published:
16 Dec 2008
Cover of NHS Pay Modernisation showing image of a nurse at work

NHS Pay Modernisation in England: Agenda for Change

“It was no mean feat transferring virtually all NHS staff on to a new pay system within a very constrained timeframe, and this element of Agenda for Change has been a success. On the other hand, the benefits that should have come with this new simpler system, such as more effective working, have not been wholly achieved. So the programme as a whole has further to go before it achieves the intended value for money for the taxpayer.”

Published:
29 Jan 2009