Today, I am laying before Parliament my annual assessment of the NHS commissioning board (known as NHS England) for 2015-16. I am also laying NHS England’s annual report and accounts for 2015-16 (HC311). Copies of both documents will be available from the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.
NHS England’s annual report and accounts includes a self-assessment of performance which describes an organisation that has experienced a year of both progress and challenge. NHS England continues to deliver high-quality care as it progresses with implementing the vision set out in the five year forward view delivering constancy of direction, consistency of leadership and effectiveness of delivery.
In response, my annual assessment welcomes the good progress that NHS England has made against many of its objectives including managing the commissioning system. Additionally it has continued to deliver the specialised services and primary care commissioning systems and improved the operation and management of the NHS. There does, however, remain much to do in order to achieve our agreed goals by 2020. In particular, I have drawn attention to the need to address year-round performance against the standards reflected within the NHS constitution, many of which have been routinely missed this year, as well as the need to make further progress on achieving parity of esteem between physical and mental health.
Although NHS England met its objective to deliver financial balance in the commissioning system this year, the provider sector remains financially challenged. To achieve its financial objective in 2016-17, NHS England must work with its system partners and the Department of Health to jointly deliver a balanced budget across the NHS as well as delivering its share of the productivity and efficiency savings identified in the NHS five year forward view.
Overall NHS England has made progress during 2015-16 but there remains much more to do. The extra real-terms investment of £8.4 billion agreed as part of the 2015 spending review is evidence of this Government’s continuing commitment to the NHS. My Department and I will continue to work with NHS England and its partners to ensure that this investment is used to build on the good work seen so far and to deliver an NHS that provides safe, compassionate and reliable care for those who need it while living within its means.
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