Commenting on the latest financial figures from NHS Improvement, Nuffield Trust Senior Policy Analyst Sally Gainsbury said:
“Today’s figures lay bare the dilemma facing NHS hospitals and other services. More and more people need healthcare, yet the money available to provide it is tightly squeezed.
“NHSI’s report shows hospitals and other services are now forecasting a deficit of around £670m by the end of this financial year. That looks like a huge turn-around from last year’s deficit, yet is in fact flattered by the inclusion of an extra £1.8bn of emergency support pumped into the hospital sector, making the real forecast more like £2.5bn. 1, 2
“These figures also reveal how hard NHS trusts are working to keep costs down. Providers have curbed the amount they are overspending by around a third in the second half of this year – from £300m to £200m per month.3 If they keep levels of overspending steady for the rest of the year, they will end the year with a £2.8bn deficit – the result of over £2bn of cuts to hospital and other service costs.
“Exactly how much the overall deficit will be at the end of this year remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: meeting financial targets in the face of rising patient numbers already means longer waiting times and may well soon mean cuts to services as well.”
This follows the news this week that a BBC investigation said NHS bosses are ‘trying to keep cuts a secret’. Click here to read