NHS areas planning to cancel or delay spending due to financial pressures
The underlying reality is that demand for services is continuing to outstrip the rate at which the NHS budget is growing.Read the report
In this issue . . .
Some grounds for optimism
Survey responses were more optimistic than this time least year, possibly due to Next steps on the NHS five year forward view providing greater certainty on immediate priorities, and expected impact of extra social care funding.
The final quarter of 2016/17 also saw a sharp improvement in A&E performance.
But challenges are ongoing
The underlying financial position remains gloomy, with many trusts having relied on one-off actions such as land sales and STF payments to improve their position.43%
of trust finance directors expect to overspend their budget in this financial year.50%
of CCG finance leads say that achieving this year’s financial forecast is likely to depend on delaying or cancelling spending.
Across 2016/17 as a whole, NHS performance deteriorated in a number of key areas2.5 million
patients spent longer than four hours in A&E, an increase of over 685,000 on the year before.362,000
patients waited longer than 18 weeks for hospital treatment in March 2017, an increase of almost 64,000 on the previous year.24%
increase in bed days lost as a result of delayed transfers of care, compared to the previous year.
Underlying issues remain
Despite some improvement in outlook, NHS finance directors remain very concerned about finance and subsequent performance, whether in A&E, mental health or general practice.
With little real-terms growth in funding, the NHS continues to experience year-on-year growth in demand.69%
of trust finance directors (and 72% of CCG finance leads) think there is a high or very high risk of failing to achieve productivity gains suggested by the Forward View.
“Local NHS leaders will be forced to make tough decisions about priorities and this is likely to have a direct impact on what care patients can access and how long they have to wait for it.”Richard Murray, Director of Policy