Institute of Healthcare Management (IHM)
The Institute of Healthcare Management is the leading independent membership organisation for health and social care managers, supporting personal development and driving change to improve health and wellbeing for all.
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It’s not just about money…
The amount of money that goes into health and social care provision is a political choice, says Shirley Cramer, CEO of the Institute of Health Management. For managers, the focus has to be on how whatever is available is used to improve patient experience and to deliver value for money
As the political party season draws to a close, the different pledges around the NHS and health and care provision have been spelt out and commissioners, providers, patients and the public left to consider what they will – or might – mean for delivery of services over the term of the next Parliament
Labour threw down the gauntlet with a promise to inject £2.5bn into the NHS for a “time for care” fund to pay for 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs, 5,000 more care workers and 3,000 midwives by 2020. Andy Burnham, the party’s Shadow Health Minister, said the one of the first acts of a Labour government would be to repeal the coalition’s re-organisation of the NHS in England to stop what he said was its “dismantling”.
Meanwhile, for the first time Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to ring-fence the health service from spending cuts for the next Parliament. A majority Conservative government, he said, would protect the English NHS budget in real terms from 2015 to 2020 and continue to invest more.
Depending on a positive vote at their party conference this week, the Liberal Democrats will promise to spend an extra £1bn a year on the NHS, over and above the amount promised by David Cameron. The money will be delivered annually for two years – between 2016 and 2018.
UKIP says it has no plans to fundamentally change the NHS and that is important that everyone has free access to medical care. It would, however, however, shrink the Department of Health and hand control to locally elected County Health Boards.
So a promise has now been made by every political party to either protect the NHS from spending cuts or increase the money available.
And money is also the theme of a letter this week to the Independent, addressed to the three main party leaders, from a range of medical groups and charities, who have said that the NHS and social care services are “at breaking point”. The letter says “a comprehensive, fully-posted, long-term spending plan” is needed to secure the NHS for future generations.
For managers in health and social care, however, the key consideration is not how much money is available – the amount of money that goes into the services is a political choice. Given the ever-increasing demands on services – and by now everyone is clear about what these are – it may never seem to be enough. But it is managers who are responsible for ensuring that the best outcomes are delivered with the money available. And that is something they do have the power to influence.
Later this month a panel of managers drawn from IHM’s membership will quiz spokespeople from each of the main political parties on their proposed plans. They will reflect on what this means for managers and their analysis will appear in the next edition of the IHM Bulletin.