A report from NHS Providers, the body which represents trusts, has warned of increasing poor performance across its services.
It detailed how a build-up in pressure had been, in part, caused by the lack of investment in social care services to look after elderly and disabled people in communities.
90% of trust chief executives showed concern about a lack of investment in such services locally.
The report calls for “renewed political commitment to ensuring a sustainable social care system.”
Looking at the NHS as a whole, the report, described as ‘damning’ in the Telegraph, describes how most of those running NHS trusts are worried about staffing and investment.
The report says patients and taxpayers deserve honesty, realism and transparency about how much the NHS can deliver, and how quickly, given how far current NHS performance has dropped, 100,000 staff vacancies, an underlying £4bn provider sector financial deficit, a £6bn maintenance backlog and no firm decisions on social care, public health, capital and training budgets.
Commenting on the report, Chris Hopson, NHS Providers chief executive, said: “It is very striking that over 90% of trust leaders are worried that there hasn’t been the full, frank and open national conversation about the severe pressures facing the NHS and how much these constrain what it can deliver.”
Adding: “It’s an uncomfortable debate to have. The government wants to be seen as an effective steward of the NHS. NHS England and NHS Improvement want to be seen to lead the service effectively. And frontline leaders want to provide outstanding care to every patient. But we need greater realism about how much the NHS can deliver, and how quickly, given where we currently are and the challenges we face.”
He concluded: “It’s great that the new government has made the NHS its top domestic priority. Trusts have welcomed increases in funding compared with other public services and the ambitious plan for the next decade.”