Commenting on the publication of end-of-year financial positions for NHS trusts and foundation trusts published by the NHS Trust Development Authority and Monitor, Richard Murray, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund, said: ‘These figures confirm that NHS providers overspent their budgets by more than £820 million last year. These deficits have occurred despite substantial extra money having been provided by government, without which the position would have been much worse.
‘The figures underline the huge pressures facing acute trusts, which have collectively overspent by £1 billion. This is largely due to increasing demand for services and decisions by hospitals to recruit more nurses in order to maintain quality of care, but it also reflects the squeeze on their incomes as a result of cuts in the prices they are paid for treatment.
‘Attention will now turn to the current financial year, with signs suggesting that the position is continuing to deteriorate. Our most recent survey of NHS finance directors indicated that two-thirds expect to overspend this year.
‘Plugging the growing black hole in NHS finances must now be an urgent priority for the government. There is a real prospect of deficits snowballing and, unless the government finds extra money, an accelerating decline in NHS performance and a deterioration in patient care.’
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