The 10-year plan which sets out how the NHS will arrive successfully to its 80th birthday party was published in January 2019.

The document is 136 pages long with much of it, quite rightly, focused on improving health outcomes and dealing with workforce pressures. There are other publications better placed to comment on those elements of the plan. However, here at Energys Group, we thought we would digest the key elements of the report and see what it has to say about energy efficiency:

1.     It’s a plan for NHS England only.

It might help if it said that on the title page, but it doesn’t. The devolved governments in Scotland and Wales have responsibility for NHS planning in those countries.

The document is a high-level plan and it recognises that 2019/20 will be a transitional year as, at a local level the key players will be working out what should be happening in their “place.”

A national implementation framework is due to be published in spring 2019 and then the NHS will develop local plans within the context of this 10 year plan and within the constraints of the 5 year cycle of the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

The local plans are due to be brought together in a detailed national implementation programme by the autumn of 2019. Phew!

2.     Running Fast to Stand Still?

The increase in funding the NHS has secured is only a slight one, averaging 3.4% over the next 5 years, compared to 2.2% average over the last five years.

However, estimates suggest that it will still need to make savings in back office functions in the region of £700million in the same time frame, if it is to have the resources to deliver this plan

The “good” news is that there is proven inefficiency within across the whole of NHS England. The Carter Review of productivity and performance in English NHS Acute hospitals, identified “ significant and unwarranted variation in costs and practice” which, if addressed, could save the NHS £5bn each year by 20/21. This included an estimated £1bn saving a year to be achieved by improving £/m2 running costs of those NHS trusts costing more than £320/m2 to that which is achieved by the most efficient.

3.     No Requirement to Reinvent the Wheel

In more good news, the 10 year plan says that “Almost everything in this Plan is already being implemented somewhere in the NHS.” Of course it’s good to hear that but the Carter Review referred to above shows the step-change required within the NHS to make best use of its buying power.

Commissioning Frameworks are in place across the NHS for most things now and budgetary pressures should drive greater use of those, where they offer best value and meet local requirements.

4.     What about the Environment?

The Plan states that the NHS has a wider role to play in influencing the shape of local communities and we should look forward to new guidelines which are due to be published in Spring 2019 for how local communities should plan and design a healthy built environment. Following on from this we should expect to see by 2020 a Healthy New Towns Standard, including a Healthy Homes Quality Mark.

The plan also sets out the NHS’s intention to reduce its carbon footprint by 1/3 from 2007 levels. Some of this will be achieved through reductions in non-clinical space but the majority will need to be achieved through improved energy efficiency, particularly LED lighting and energy management.

5.     Integrate, Integrate, Integrate

This 10 year plan sets out how the NHS will be working with its partners to create local Integrated Care Systems throughout England by 2021. The ambition is to achieve the “triple integration” of primary and specialist care, physical and mental health services and health and social care. No mean feat.

Watch out for lots of talk at “place” (local) level between Local Authorities and NHS Commissioners and providers about how best to deliver integrated services to benefit the local population and, in the medium term, perhaps some restructuring of services which may result in different estate requirements.

If you have a responsibility for procurement or energy and are working within an NHS Trust, then find out how Energys Group can help you to improve energy efficiency whilst reducing costs – then take a read of our new NHS Energy Efficiency e-book.

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