Low

NHS

The NHS has tackled the COVID-19 pandemic admirably however elective activity has suffered and the levels of patients waiting 52 or even 104 weeks has risen significantly since pre-pandemic levels. There is an urgent need to treat these long waiters.

Sector trends & challenges

  • Waiting lists & elective recovery

    Private operators have supported the NHS to help maintain some level of functionality during the pandemic but waiting lists for treatments continue to grow. COVID-19 has made it very challenging to maintain elective activity with waiting lists reaching record levels. The onset of the Delta variant has hindered elective recovery and patients are still facing lengthy delays.

  • NHS Estate

    The level of Estates maintenance backlog has reached £9bn, an increase of 84% since 2014. The total cost of running the NHS Estate was £9.7bn in FY19/20. The NHS needs to refurbish properties and develop financially efficient infrastructure to optimise whole life asset costs.

  • Financial sustainability

    Whilst there may be increased levels of funding to support the NHS going forward, there will remain an expectation to achieve long term financial sustainability. NHS Providers were not required to find financial efficiencies during the height of Covid, but have been given a 3% efficiency target for FY21/22 year end, and it’s expected that this target will increase for FY22/23.

Sector rating profile

Currently little focus on financial sustainability, but it’s expected that in FY22/23 this focus will return, with trusts required to meet significant efficiency/savings targets.

NHS

The NHS has risen to the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, mobilising resources to support the front line and bring the UK out of the crisis, however other challenges remain. A lot will depend on the efficiency of vaccines against new strains of COVID-19

Care homes have lost significant income since the pandemic began whilst also incurring rising costs. Fortunately, private operators have supported the NHS to help maintain some level of elective activity over this period. Private health providers may need to understand how to cost base to lower income if the NHS provision persists into the medium-term.

Globally, there will be more investment in healthcare, with the healthcare supply chain underpinned by increased demand. In the UK, there may be a trend towards insourcing some services amidst increased political focus on social care provision. Public healthcare organisations will need to find efficiencies and ways to reduce waste, particularly as pressure from the pandemic eases.

Under-investment is a common theme across the sector and presently there are limited funds to invest in infrastructure. In addition, new technology and systems need to be integrated in hospitals. Patient data for example is often manual and systems are disconnected.

Whilst there may be increased levels of funding to support the NHS going forward, there will remain an expectation to achieve long term financial sustainability. This means that public healthcare organisations will need to find efficiencies and ways to reduce waste, particularly as pressure from the pandemic eases post winter 2021.

Find Your Expert

Craig Masters is Interpath Lead for Public Sector, which includes the NHS as one of four core segments. Rob Arthur leads our approach to our work with the NHS nationally, supported by Nigel Carr. For a full list of our senior people with experience in this sector use the button below.

Our senior team