NHS could be forced to abandon key targets

Reports suggest that the NHS may be forced to abandon major commitments it made as part of a deal to secure long term funding for the health service in 2018 because of the effects of the pandemic.

According to The Independent, bosses at NHS England are reviewing at commitments made by the NHS in its long term plan which was published in 2019 after the government agreed to provide a £20 billion uplift in spending over five years to 2024.

The HSJ reports that senior directors within the NHS are now under the impression that many of the promises made at the time, which include increasing GP numbers by 5,000, diagnosing more cancers earlier and improving mental health care, may no longer be deliverable.

Other targets include reducing stillbirths and neonatal deaths by 50 per cent, halving the rate of people with learning disabilities being detained in hospitals and increasing the mental health investment as a share of the NHS budget in each year of the plan.

The HSJ said it had been told that additional efficiency targets were now unlikely to be achieved because of the lost time as well as extra demand in areas like mental health. The recruitment of staff has been affected and NHS leaders fear more staff will leave as a result of the past 18 months.

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