Commenting on the latest quarterly financial figures for NHS provider trusts from Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority, John Appleby, Chief Economist at The King’s Fund, said:
‘These figures once again highlight the scale of the financial crisis facing the NHS. The best case scenario for the end-of-year deficit estimates of £2.37 billion is in line with that reported to us by finance directors in our regular quarterly monitoring report this week.
‘Since these estimates were submitted, national bodies have increased pressure on trusts to reduce overspending and introduced more stringent financial controls in an effort to get the overall deficit down to £1.8 billion by the end of 2015/16. Despite this, there is evidence that many trusts will not be able to deliver the savings needed, making it unlikely this target can be achieved.
‘This has significant implications – any shortfall will come out of next year's budget, eating into the extra funding provided in the Spending Review and leaving even less money for essential changes to services. If an end-of-year deficit approaches the worst case scenario laid out in these figures – £2.8 billion – it is hard to see how the Department of Health will avoid overspending its budget for the year, something that has never happened before.’
Notes to editors:
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