The Commission on Specialised Services, chaired by Lord Warner, warns that NHS services like those for cystic fibrosis care face significant cuts in England without increased funding and reforms to the way services are planned and paid for, in a report published today.
The group, which comprises experts from across the health service and includes Cystic Fibrosis Trust Chief Executive Ed Owen, also calls for major changes to improve outcomes and efficiency, while supporting the need for national funding for specialised services and mandatory national standards of care.
The standards of care pioneered by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust formed the basis for the Payment by Results funding tariff and the peer review programme which underpin CF care in the UK.
The commission advises that specialised services are fundamental to a comprehensive health service and essential to ensuring the UK continues to deliver world-class clinical practice and medicine.
Ed Owen said: “This report highlights the emerging problems faced by CF and other specialised NHS services coping with the significant financial pressures that exist today.
“It rightly urges more innovation in the delivery of care around the needs of those who use specialised services and a greater focus on the outcomes of such services. But it is clear that planned funding is inadequate if such services are to continue to provide best possible care for all.
“Cystic fibrosis services have been in the vanguard of how specialised services are organised, and the report highlights the crucial role of the UK CF Registry, managed by the Trust, in providing robust evidence and data to support this.
“But we know that CF services, particularly adult clinics, are struggling to cope with increasing demand and less funds. We are currently conducting a survey of all CF centres to provide a more detailed picture of the levels of service across the UK and will be publishing this later in the year.”
The report proposes that while the management of many specialised NHS services may benefit from being devolved to regional and local levels, national planning is needed to adequately support highly specialised and complex services such as cystic fibrosis.