Nuffield Trust: figures show NHS trusts on course for £1.1bn deficit despite very high cost cutting

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Responding to the financial figures for NHS trusts released today by NHS Improvement, Nuffield Trust Senior Policy Analyst Sally Gainsbury said:

 

“These figures show providers on track to overshoot their target of a £580m deficit for the year by over half a billion (£1.1bn) [1], even after receiving an extra £1.8bn in emergency funding.

 

“This massive deficit comes even though NHS trusts have delivered very high levels of cost cutting: £2.9bn in the first 9 months of this financial year alone. Providers are being asked to make these cost cuts more than 50% faster than recent reviews for the government have found possible [2]. So it is little wonder that key targets such as A&E and operation waiting times are suffering.

 

“As we warned would happen, the NHS now appears to be locked into systematic overspending – a function of the simple fact that funding is rising significantly slower than patient numbers. If this continues, we have calculated that by next year all parts of the service will be in deficit [3]. There is a widening gap between what we are asking the NHS to do and what we are funding it to do.”

 

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