Our response to NHS Planning Guidance

Sally Gainsbury responds to the NHS Operational Planning Guidance for 2017/18 and 2018/19.

Press release

Published: 22/09/2016

Commenting on the NHS Operational Planning Guidance for 2017/18 and 2018/19, released today, Nuffield Trust Senior Policy Analyst Sally Gainsbury said:

“The decision to continue making £1.8bn of the sustainability and transformation fund available to acute providers in 2017-18 and 2018-19 will offer those providers a short reprieve after the 4 percent cost cuts they are being asked to make this financial year. However those providers will still need to find a further 2.9 per cent cost cut in 2017-18 and a similar amount again in 2018-19. 

“Those cost reductions will come at a time when providers are feeling the pressure from funding reductions elsewhere: particularly the decision in the 2015 Spending Review to freeze Health Education England’s funding for clinical training placement and contributions to junior doctor salaries.

“And there are obviously implications here for local transformation plans, intended to put the NHS on a more sustainability long term footing. The spending review allocated a headline £15bn fund over five years to support that transformation, but after continued provider deficits and commissioners struggling to afford growing volumes of activity, it now looks like that fund will be diminished to only around £3bn between now and 2020-21.”

Notes to editors

  • Operational Planning Guidance for 2017/18 and 2018/19 has been published by NHS Improvement and NHS England, and is available here.
  • The Nuffield Trust’s Feeling the Crunch report gives an overview of the savings different parts of the NHS will need to make by 2020, and the implications for the funding available to support change and improvement.