The NHS and the Election
The NHS is never far from the front pages so it was no surprise when the 2015 General Election once again shone a light on the future of the NHS.
The debate largely focussed on NHS funding, with each party putting forward policies for how they would deal with the £30bn funding deficit, how additional cash should be utilised and indeed explaining (some more vaguely than others) where the cash would come from.
Moreover, this election saw the emergence of an NHS special interest party – the National Health Action Party (www.nhap.org/), made up of NHS professionals from varied backgrounds like Nurses, GPs and Surgeons. They all fought to win votes in high profile constituencies such as David Cameron’s Whitney seat and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s Surrey South West seat. Claiming a successful election performance, the NHA ended up winning the seventh most votes and even beat the Lib Dems in three constituencies.
The Future of NHS
So, we now have a majority Conservative government and David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt can claim a mandate for continuing the work the coalition government started five years ago.
But where does a new Conservative Government leave the NHS?
Many of those who oppose the new Tory Government believe that the NHS will be slowly but surely privatised. But is this strictly correct? In a recent blog, the Kings Fund reported that: ‘Overall, the Department of Health’s annual accounts suggest some £10 billion of the total NHS budget of £113 billion is spent on care from non-NHS providers (not including dentistry, medicines or general practice). The BBC reported that in 2013/14 £6.5 billion of that £10 billion was spent on private sector providers.’
Indeed they continue to explain that, following the arguably disastrous franchising of Hinchinbrook Hospital to Circle - where the Trust was handed back to NHS management at earliest possible opportunity following an awful CQC inspection and the Trust being put under special measures, ‘Further management franchises by private sector providers seem unlikely in the short term’.
Moreover, ‘The NHS has always commissioned a proportion of health care services from private providers and spend on private sector providers has increased in recent years in some areas of care. About 10% of NHS spend on health services is on non-NHS providers which includes for-profit companies, local authorities, social enterprises, charities and community interest companies. There has been growth in non-NHS provision of care, but there has been no wholesale privatisation of the NHS’.
What does this mean for the future of the NHS recruitment market?
In a nutshell, we are expecting to see more of the same.
Clinical Commissioning Groups are under pressure to make savings and the NHS Five Year Forward plan says the £22bn worth can be found in the next 5 years. Ironically, this could well see an increase in interim hiring as more and more transformation programmes begin and specialist expertise in service improvement and efficiencies, pathway and commissioning redesign and public engagement is required.
Given many NHS organisations are already overstretched with business-as-usual activities, the additional workload of financial efficiency programmes, QIPP and Service Redesign projects, means we expect to see CCGs and CSUs across the country to continue to harness interim professionals to get the job done. Essentially, more of the same. Furthermore, with CCGs being encouraged to procure support services externally rather than bringing them in-house, coupled with the new Lead Provider Framework for Commissioning Support services including private consultancy in their midst, we may start to see NHS interim professionals joining those organisations too.
The Investigo NHS team specialise in recruiting both interim and permanent professionals into the NHS nationally. With a particular focus on change management the team do a lot of work recruiting into Pathway redesign, service and cost improvement as well as large-scale transformation programmes across both the commissioning, provider and arm’s length sectors of the NHS.
Ben would be interested in speaking to you if you are looking to recruit for the above mentioned roles so please contact him on email@example.com or +44 (0) 7711 373 270.