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NHS England reveals £30bn 'spending gap'

Current service models will not be able to care for people with long-term conditions, leading to a £30 billion spending gap, NHS England has said.

According to a publication released today, “open and honest” debate about the future shape of the NHS is needed to meet rising demand.

Despite the funding problems, The NHS belongs to the people: a call to action reveals that the NHS will not begin to charge for services.

Chief executive of the NHS, Sir David Nicholson said: “The NHS was set up to provide high quality care for patients, free at the point of need. The NHS has stayed true to this aim and to do so in the future, we must embrace new ways of working.

“Our success in extending life means people living longer, but with more conditions and illnesses such as dementia that were not common twenty years ago.”

Around 800,000 people are now living with dementia and this is expected to rise to one million by 2021.

Sir David said that the NHS can increasingly deliver care at home, yet too often patients have to travel around buildings. 

Life expectancy

NHS England figures show that between 1990 and 2010, life expectancy in England increased by 4.2 years.

The difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest parts of the country is now 17 years.

Around 80% of deaths from major diseases are due to lifestyle risk factors such as smoking, excess alcohol and poor diet.

The number of older people likely to require care is predicted to rise by over 60 per cent by 2030.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing said: “The NHS faces significant challenges and we agree that it cannot hope to meet these without change. We welcome new innovation and ideas about the future design of services as well as the better integration of health and social care services as a priority.

“We also need to make sure we're getting the basics right, such as ensuring safe staffing levels throughout the NHS.”

NHS staff, patients and charities have been urged to join local discussion groups to have a say in how the future of the NHS will look.

Feedback from the meetings will be published and used to shape the strategy of the NHS.