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NHS must start reconfiguring services if it is to meet savings challenge, says National Audit Office

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e8480 (Published 13 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8480
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. 1BMJ

The NHS in England has made a positive start towards meeting the government’s target of £20bn (€25bn; $32bn) in efficiency savings by 2014-15, but progress may stall unless attention is urgently shifted to transformation of services, auditors have warned.

The National Audit Office said that the NHS had delivered efficiency savings of £5.8bn in 2011-12, against a target of £5.9bn, by concentrating on the “easiest savings” borne from reducing national tariff prices by 1.5% and freezing staff pay for two years.

But its new report said that the NHS would struggle to repeat these savings for the remainder of the government’s quality, innovation, productivity, and prevention (QIPP) drive unless it turned its attention to service reconfiguration.1

The efficiency drive, dubbed the “Nicholson challenge” after its architect, David Nicholson, the NHS’s chief executive,2 requires the health service …

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