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Our latest survey of finance directors carried out during the first quarter of the new financial year reveals an extremely challenging financial situation for most NHS organisations. A continuation of limited growth in national funding, increased demand, rising costs, real price cuts and the prospect of large cash transfers to the Better Care Fund make 2015/16 the most difficult year for the NHS this century.
With 114 providers ending 2014/15 in deficit and with a net overspend of more than £800 million, our survey suggests that 66 per cent of all provider organisations are forecasting a deficit this year – with an unprecedented 89 per cent of acute trusts expecting to overspend. Estimates by NHS Providers indicate that overspending by all trusts could amount to more than £2 billion by April 2016.
The survey also found that three-quarters of trust finance directors intend to recruit more permanent nurses in the next six months, suggesting that the NHS is continuing to prioritise quality of patient care despite rising financial pressures.
About this quarter's report
How is the NHS performing? July 2015 is the sixteenth of The King's Fund's regular quarterly monitoring reports. Find out more about the work at www.kingsfund.org.uk/qmrproject