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A King's Fund commissioned report, Our future health secured? A review of NHS funding and performance,1 published in September this year, is, as its title succinctly suggests, a timely retrospective review of National Health Service spending and performance since 2002, the year the Treasury published a Gordon Brown commissioned review of health care funding needs for the next 20 years.2 Sir Derek Wanless, a career banker, led both reviews.
The first one said that a huge increase in NHS spending demanded parallel and radical reforms to tackle problems of “excessive waiting times, poor access to services, and poor quality of care and outcomes”. The second review answers questions about the amount of money invested in recent years, where it went, what it achieved, whether it was spent wisely and what lessons can be learnt. It is 320 pages long, as comprehensive as it can be at such length, surprisingly well written, succinct, reasonably jargon free and, although balanced, does not pull its punches.
What does it say that may interest readers of this journal?
The review finishes with a list of recommendations, many interrelated and high level. One such (not a surprise to many readers) is that the government must strengthen its analytical capacity to monitor the effectiveness of its policies; another one, even less surprising, is that it must strengthen its capacity to link clinical and service objectives with the resources needed to achieve them.
If this were a school report, the teacher scoring the pupil's progress and proficiency would give an at best overall score of 5 out of 10.
Competing interests: None declared.