Our response to quarter one NHS provider finance figures

Sally Gainsbury comments on the quarterly report on the performance of the NHS Provider sector, expected to show NHS trusts closer to meeting their financial targets.

Press Release

Published: 25/08/2016

Commenting on the quarterly report on the performance of the NHS Provider sector, which shows NHS trusts closer to meeting their financial targets, Nuffield Trust senior policy analyst Sally Gainsbury said:

“On the face of it these figures show NHS providers more or less on track. But there is a real risk that they give a rose-tinted view of a more troubling underlying picture – because access to the special £1.8 billion fund which trusts desperately need to keep paying staff wages is tied to them reporting the “right” figures at the end of each quarter.

“We know the underlying pressures on hospitals, ambulance services and other providers remain severe. Our recent analysis shows they must deliver over £3 billion in efficiency savings this year, which is well above what they managed in previous years. We also show that the commissioners who pay for NHS services now face a funding gap that could drive them into deficit.

“So although today’s results reflect a lot of hard work from managers and professionals, we should be ready for the possibility of a nasty surprise towards the end of the year.”

Notes to editors

  • Previous reports by NHSI and its predecessors showed NHS Trusts accumulating large deficits, totalling £2.45bn last year.
  • The Nuffield Trust recently released Feeling the Crunch, which analyses the deficits facing NHS providers and commissioners to 2020 and the ambitious measures which would be needed to bridge the gap.