Health policy under the coalition government: A mid-term assessment

Source: King’s Fund

Link to main document

Publication format: PDF

Date of publication: November 2012

Summary of driver: This review was writtend half way through the 2010-14 parliament and considers how the NHS is performing under the new coalition government. It examines the policies introduced by the coalition government, assesses how far these will address current and emerging performance issues, and identifies further action needed. The report focuses its findings on eight key aspects of health care: access, patient safety, promoting health, managing long-term conditions, clinical effectiveness, patient experience, equity, and efficiency.

Key findings of this report:

  • The performance of the NHS is generally holding up despite financial pressures and disruption from reforms, but cracks are emerging with longer A & E waiting times and the exposure of financial difficulties.
  • There have been improvements in transactional aspects of care (access and waiting times) but concerns remain about relational aspects of care (emotional support, dignity and empathy), particularly in acute hospitals.
  • Levels of public satisfaction with the NHS have fallen, although the reasons for this are not clear.
  • Smoking rates continue to fall and obesity among children is stabilising, but excess alcohol consumption continues to rise, as does adult obesity.
  • Mortality from cancer and cardiovascular disease has fallen but the United Kingdom still has higher levels of avoidable mortality than other countries, and health inequalities persist.

Policy implications:

  • The reforms are underpinned by the government’s approach to driving NHS performance – moving away from targets and performance management towards a focus on outcomes, transparency of data, greater control for local clinicians, and increased choice and competition. How these are applied in practice will determine the future performance of the NHS.
  • There are several threats to NHS performance, including the continuation of a tight financial situation for the NHS, further cuts in local government budgets, new organisations taking time to get established, and the potential failure to maintain financial control.
  • To rise to the financial challenges facing the NHS and local government, we need to see innovation in models of care at an unprecedented scale and pace.

Impact on library policy/practice: This report provides a useful overview to library staff about the wide ranging impact of recent proposals on the whole of the NHS.

Case studies / Local service profile examples mapping to this driver: None currently

Date last updated: 4.10.2013

Due for review: April 2014

Group member responsible: TP


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