The government’s ambitions to introduce integrated care are at risk because the Department of Health has made the funding process to complicated.
The King’s Fund have warned that the critical issues of where the NHS funds are allocated are being overlooked as they have made the way they allocate money too fragmented.
The report by the think tank has said that critical issues of how and where NHS funds are allocated are being overlooked in the heated debates over the wider health service reforms.
Published today, the report warns that the changes to the NHS funding system make the funding more fragmented and risk creating ‘confusion and complexity’, which could result in undermining the government’s ambition to provide more integrated care.
The recent changes mean that there needs to be vast improvements in the way central government allocates resources.
The report says it welcomes the new changes but calls for a strategic and long-term assessment of the aims and methods of NHS resource allocation:
We argue that it needs to go further, and provide a more fundamental reassessment of the objectives, processes and methods of health resource allocation in England. In doing so, it must address two key questions.
Should resource allocation be a neutral way of allocating funds to the NHS and local government?
Or a policy tool to support the NHS in delivering its mandate and changes to the wider system?
The King’s Fund report gives recommendations for how NHS England should change to match the new allocations, show how different ways of moving resources across the health system could support better integration with other services, with the concept of a community budget single cashpot arrangement.
David Buck, senior fellow at The King’s Fund said:
Recent reforms bring major changes to resource allocation, risking confusion and complexity.
As the funding squeeze bites, it is crucial that we think carefully about how and why health spending is allocated.
NHS England’s fundamental review is an opportunity for much-needed debate about what we hope to achieve through that funding in future.