The leaders of the NHS in England today (Thursday 23 October) have set out their five year Forward View, which outlines why the health service needs to change and the actions required to deliver transformed care for patients.

Anita Charlesworth, Chief Economist at the Health Foundation, comments:

'The Forward View confirms that funding pressures will rise by £30bn by the end of the next Parliament, without further action. In the Forward View, NHS England sets out three scenarios for how to manage this funding gap but they all require more money. The sums involved are large – by 2020/21, if the NHS carries on in line with past trends, it would need £21bn extra if reductions to quality and access are to be avoided.

'Even with the most stretching and optimistic productivity assumption, the Forward View shows that the NHS will need an additional £1.5bn in 2015/16, increasing to a total of £8bn by 2020/21. This would allow the service to hold spending per person constant in real terms and meet the costs of an ageing population.

'The Forward View sets out an ambitious programme of renewal for the health service. But it confirms that this can only be delivered with strong NHS staff, public and political commitment to change coupled with significant additional funding.'

Richard Taunt, Director of Policy at the Health Foundation, comments:

'We very much welcome the Forward View. The next five years facing the NHS are fundamental, and contain a set of difficult choices.

'These choices include how the NHS needs to change to ensure it can provide high quality health care for patients against a challenging backdrop of increasing demand and financial austerity. The portrait the Forward View paints – including a future where patients have more control of their own health alongside a greater focus on tackling ill health prevention – is one we absolutely support. We also welcome the call for both a transformation fund and more support for local areas to improve the care they provide – both identified as important areas for action in our recent More than Money report.

'However, the biggest challenge facing the NHS remains its future funding. Whether the ambitions set out in Forward View will be able to be realised depends in large part on whether the NHS receives the funding required to meet the demands put upon it. Politicians need to be explicit in their responses to the Forward View about whether they would provide the additional funding. This is clearly required to enable the NHS to adapt to meet the unprecedented challenges it faces. If they do not, a plan B is needed as to how quality can best be maintained in the NHS.'

Media contact:

Mike Findlay, Media Manager
T: 020 7257 8047
E: mike.findlay@health.org.uk