The NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA) today published guidance for NHS Trust Boards to help them plan the long term delivery of their services for patients.
In 2009 the NHS recognised that the future fiscal environment would be far tougher than had been experienced in the previous decade and set out plans for providers and commissioners to prepare to operate in more austere times than many had experienced before.
That preparation has ensured that healthcare providers have managed the financial transition by delivering greater levels of productivity than ever before – treating more patients with less money, ensuring the patients and communities they serve can access the care they need.
However the combination of the tighter financial environment and rising patient expectations creates real challenges for every NHS Trust Board, and over the last year, the NHS as a whole has had to take a hard look at the quality of services it provides to ensure that they continue to meet the standards patients expect.
So as we go into the new financial year, NHS Trust Boards will need to have an even sharper focus on the long-term than they’ve ever been required to before if they are going to be able to ensure they can deliver sustainable, high quality services going forward.
The work undertaken by the NHS Medical Director throughout the year on the future of Emergency Care provision and 7-day working, alongside the introduction of the Better Care Fund, will fundamentally affect how NHS Trust Board’s view the future sustainability of their services as well as the measures they need to undertake – both today and tomorrow – to achieve the highest quality care when delivering services.
Securing Sustainability – Planning Guidance for NHS Trust Boards 2014/15 – 2018/19 sets out what NHS Boards should focus on to be able to continue to deliver high quality care today whilst taking the necessary action to ensure they can continue to do so in the future.
Collectively, we must face the challenges ahead with the same high aspiration and energy that has been so evident in the NHS over the last five years, working respectfully with colleagues in the broader system and keeping a firm eye on what matters – improving care for patients today and in the future.