Nuffield Trust reaction and analysis on NHS Improvement financial figures

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Sally Gainsbury responds to today’s financial figures from NHS Improvement which show NHS hospitals are being asked to make unachievable levels of savings to make up for years of underfunding.

Press Release

Published: 16/11/2017

“Today’s figures show NHS hospitals are being asked to make unachievable levels of savings to make up for years of underfunding in which the need for care has continued to rise.

“By the end of September [1], trusts were reporting a collective overspend of £1.15bn [2]. But even that is only after they received £630m of emergency funding which the Government plans to spend elsewhere in future. Trusts also relied on £300m of one off savings such as selling land, which cannot be repeated.

“Once those figures are stripped out, NHS trusts were collectively overspending by an average £346m a month for the first 6 months of the current financial year – worse than at the same point in 2016/17. At the current rate of monthly overspending, they will end 2017-18 with an underlying deficit of £3.9bn.

That might be patched over in the accounts with more one off emergency funding and savings, but such measures will do nothing to relieve the ongoing pressure in hospitals and other services.”  

Notes to editors

  1. Today’s Quarterly performance of the NHS provider sector report from the NHS Improvement regulator shows how English NHS trusts have performed in the first half of the 2017/18 financial year, which ran from April 2017 to September 2017.
  2. This collective overspend is the picture even after factoring in “uncommitted” money from the Sustainability and Transformation Fund, which has not actually been given to trusts yet.
  3. The Nuffield Trust recently published an in depth analysis of the NHS deficit and where it will go in the next few years, “The Bottom Line”.

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