A £15bn NHS funding shortfall in the next decade is being predicted by the NHS Confederation, which represents 90% of all NHS organisations.
It has published a report - Dealing with the downturn: The greatest ever leadership challenge for the NHS? - which warns of "extremely challenging" times ahead.
Its says that the next two years will be "tough but manageable" but that "the position beyond 2010/11 is very different" due to the impact of the recession and rising costs.
Says boss Steve Barnett: "With little or no cash increase from 2011/12, the NHS has to prepare itself for real-terms reductions in what it can afford to do and needs to make the hard decisions about which programmes to fund, how to reward staff and how to reorganise services now."
According to the Department of Health, the 2009/10 NHS budget stands at £102.7bn, a 7.5% increase on the previous year, while next year it will be £105.8bn, up 1.6%.
Copyright © Press Association 2009
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"Be honest, the government cannot keep pace with the needs of the NHS. The Labour government gave the NHS huge injections of cash. GPs got better salaries,nurses had pay rises. It's time to be frank, open, forthright and straightforward. Public spending services cannot continue to rise. There is no more money. Blame others for the decline in departmental budgets. We all enjoyed the extra cash. Brown must know the government is weak, we must not flunk our judgement when the time comes." - Carl Curtis, London
"I also agree with the statements below. Yes, it is a timebomb waiting to happen, with people living much, much longer and new 'treatments' or life-prolongers being asked for all the time, often with misinformed media pressure. Couple this with a falling birth rate meaning fewer carers/nurses available to do the jobs needed, or with litigation threats meaning they will not touch it, we are now in the situation we find ourselves. The NHS (ie, the current government) must also take a lot of the
blame. This organisation must be one of the most badly and inefficiently run in Europe! With the complete fragmentation of services; health trusts and PCTs doing their own thing in the pretence of being 'local' and not speaking to each other; total lack of any kind of standardisation in what is supposed to be a NATIONAL - as opposed to a (very) regional health service - just ask any poor patient who, by definition is unwell and who has to deal with more than one PCT or hospital and they will tell you what I mean. I could go on ..." - Helen Bovey, Berkshire
"I am not surprised by this statement, it is like a time bomb waiting to explode. I am currently working in an area where I have seen a huge influx of EU citizens, their demand on the NHS and other services is greater than the average UK citizen, it's hardly surprising that the NHS is facing such huge shortfall." - Josette Davidson, Birmingham
"I wholeheartedly agree with all the statements below, especially about the cause (the banks etc) of the economic downfall and also the politicians' expenses when some nurses can barely live on the salary they earn. How many of them would be pleased to take home a salary of £29,000 with 40 years' experience as I do, and have to continue working until I'm 65?!" - J Walker, Hove
"I am not surprised by this statement. What can you expect when the best way forward for the NHS is seen as divisive, sensitive and controversial to discuss without the involvement of personal emotions" - V Henry, London
"With over 3 million more people in the UK from Europe EEC is it hardly surprising?" - L Perry, UK
"No semantics, no words of wisdom. A quality NHS requires the nursing resource invested in to be at the front line - fact! Many of the knowledgeable and skilled staff we have invested in over the years are found being used in management roles supporting yet another tier of assistant to assistant and so on. We are top heavy in management and have been for far too long. Too many high salaries and lucrative packages when made redundant and re-employed following failures to do the task they were employed to do. We all know the problems and all that government do is reinvent the wheel. Leave the knowledgeable and skilled on the front line! This is what makes the difference today and reduces the cost in the future. Take a look at other European countries who provide a better service for far less." - George Cimarosti, Bromsgrove
"There is still a lot of wasted in money in the NHS, recently over £2,000 worth of drugs prescribed from the hospital have been returned to our workplace that were out of date. This is just from one person. Scandalous waste of money and irresponsible prescribing." - Denise Westerman, UK
"I think it is totally unacceptable and utterly disgusting that the financial organisations (the nation's banking system) whose greed and lack of fiscal integrity brought about this global economic collapse can be bailed out to the tune of multi-billions of pounds whilst the National Health Service is being allowed to fall into disrepair and teeter on the verge of bankruptcy. I have to ask myself, while we have politicians milking an expenses system to the point of corporate theft, how can their demands to keep the NHS pay budget down and calls for efficiency savings be taken seriously? Yet these same people can watch what was once the 'Flagship of the Nation' sinking and do nothing about it. This demonstrates to me that the government statements on improving the NHS are really nothing but a sham, meaningless semantics and something the politicians concerned should be ashamed of. The health of the nation should be measured by just that investment in the people's health not purely corporate fiscal gain." - J Bremner, NHS Highland
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