The Health Foundation and the Foundation Trust Network (FTN) co-hosted a workshop in August 2014 to tackle the question of whether the NHS can maintain quality in the short to medium term without additional resources.

The event brought together around 25 senior representatives of provider organisations, covering the acute, mental health, community and ambulance sectors.

The workshop was part of the Health Foundation's work examining the implications of the NHS’s ‘financial gap’ for quality of care. The workshop is further discussed in the report More than money: closing the NHS quality gap

The workshop used two hypothetical scenarios to help guide a free thinking discussion: a challenged trust and a service user with multiple health and care needs.

The workshop focused on three main questions.

  • If no ‘new money’ were available, what choices would you need to make to balance the books and how would this impact on quality of care?
  • If ‘new money’ became available, how would this best be spent, both in the short and medium term?
  • What are the external facilitators or barriers which would help or hinder your ability to maintain quality while facing financial pressures?

This report summarises the discussions at the event and provides some reflections on their implications.

Key messages

  • Financial constraint can be a key driver of transformational change.
  • There is a commitment from NHS providers to protect clinical quality and safety at all costs.
  • Difficult choices need to be made both politically and at local health economy levels.
  • To achieve faster change, collaborative leadership and effective management will be needed.
  • It is critical to ensure that national regulatory and policy frameworks enable and support local change.

Further reading