The Public Accounts Committee, of which I am a member, has published seven reports since January on the workings of the Department of Health, including on diabetes, the cancer drugs fund, services for people with neurological conditions, access to GP services, acute hospital trusts, NHS clinical staff and personal budgets in social care. We have had two further hearings, for reports yet to be published, on discharging older people from hospital and specialised services.
I recommend those reports to those on the Government Front Bench—I have a few copies with me, just in case they do not wish to watch the football tonight. Taken together, they paint a bleak picture of a system under immense pressure, with commitments undelivered, a massive increase in complexity as a result of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and, above all for the Public Accounts Committee, continuing poor data upon which to make decisions and manage performance, as well as a complete lack of clarity about accountability for delivery on the areas we have investigated.
The concerns outlined in our reports include: on staffing, that trusts have been set unrealistic efficiency targets, and that the shortage of nurses is expected to continue for the next three years; on funding, that the financial performance of trusts has deteriorated sharply, and that this trend is not sustainable; and that the data used to estimate trusts’ potential cost savings targets are seriously flawed.