NHS trusts in deficit

This content relates to the following topics:

Part of The NHS in a nutshell

Article information

  • Posted:Monday 01 March 2021
Proportion of NHS trusts in financial deficit

In 2010/11, just 5 per cent of NHS trusts and foundation trusts in England overspent their annual budgets. By 2015/16, two-thirds of trusts (66 per cent) were in deficit as a slowdown in NHS funding took its toll.

The 2015 Spending Review provided additional ‘sustainability and transformation’ funding for the NHS. This contributed to a fall in deficits – though 46 per cent of trusts still overspent their budgets in 2018/19. 

As part of the new five-year funding deal announced for the NHS in 2018, national NHS bodies have said that no trusts should be in deficit by 2023/24 and the number of trusts in deficit in 2019/20 should reduce by more than half the number in deficit in 2018/19.

The 2019/20 NHS Improvement annual accounts show that the number of trusts reporting a deficit halved1 from 107 in 2018/19 to 53 trusts in 2019/20, leaving slightly more than one-quarter of trusts in deficit by the end of the year and meeting the target. The provider sector overall ended the year with a net deficit of £910 million.     

For an in-depth analysis of NHS finances, see our Quarterly monitoring reports.

  • 1. on a control total basis

Get the latest news from The King's Fund

Subscribe to our newsletters to keep up-to-date with the world of health and social care and hear the latest news and views from The King's Fund.

Learn more