£50 billion in NHS efficiency savings by 2020 'undoable'
Asking the National Health Service to achieve efficiency savings of some £50 billion over the next eight years is "frankly undoable", John Appleby, chief economist at The King's Fund, has warned.
The NHS is currently striving to hit its "barely achievable" target of saving £20 billion by 2014/15, but far from this being the end of the line, Richard Douglas, director general of policy, strategy and finance at the Department of Health, has reportedly fingered a further target of £50 billion by 2019/20.
In an article published by the British Medical Journal online, Appleby writes that this is "a startling admission of the long-term impact on public services of the global financial crisis and ensuing recession".
While this might not come as a huge surprise given the current stagnant economic growth and likelihood that the NHS budget will not be as protected post 2014/15, finding £50 billion by 2019/20 is not achievable, he argues.