Trusts in deficit

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Part of The NHS in a nutshell

NHS trusts in deficit

Source: The King's Fund analysis of data from Monitor, NHS Trust Development Authority and Department of Health (2009/10–2011/12), National Audit Office (2012/13–2015/16), NHS Improvement (2016/17)

There are approximately 240 NHS trusts and foundation trusts providing NHS ambulance, hospital, community and mental health services in England. In 2010/11, just 5 per cent of these providers overspent their annual budgets. The latest figures for 2016/17 show that 51 per cent of all trusts are planning to end the year in deficit. Nearly three-quarters of these trusts are acute hospitals.

As recently as 2012/13 NHS providers recorded a surplus of nearly £600 million in aggregate. Since then provider finances have deteriorated sharply with an overall deficit of £2.5 billion recorded in 2015/16.

In December 2016, NHS Improvement forecast that NHS trusts would end 2016/17 with a potential deficit of £750–£850 million. This position includes £1.8 billion of additional financial support provided through the NHS Sustainability and Transformation Fund. National NHS bodies and provider trusts have made significant efforts over recent months to further reduce the number and size of trust financial deficits in 2016/17.

For an in-depth analysis of NHS deficits, see our briefing Deficits in the NHS 2016 and our Quarterly monitoring reports.


2016/17 data refer to the planned number of providers in surplus/deficit, based on data from the first nine months of the 2016/17 financial year (Apr–Dec 2016). Data refers to number of trusts in existence on 31 March each year. Changes to the number of trusts during the year due to mergers, separations, or dissolutions are not counted.