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NHS England outlines priorities for the next financial year


7 February 2018

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NHS England has laid out its plans for the next financial year, which includes continued revenue in mental health and moving forward towards integrated models of care.

In the Refreshing NHS Plans 2018-19 document, steps for the next financial year are explained, which includes points on how the next steps of the Five Year Forward View will be taken.

The plan tells England’s STPs that they should be taking ‘an increasingly prominent role’ in planning and managing effort to improve services in the next financial year.

The Commissioner Sustainability Fund is designed to help cash-strapped CCGs ‘to return to in-year financial balance, whilst supporting and incentivising CCGs to deliver against their financial control totals’.

In Numbers

It follows the announcement of an  extra  £1.6 billion cash boost for the NHS in last November’s budget.

CCGs will get an extra £1.4bn– to  spend on emergency pressures, extra elective work to tackle waiting lists, meeting the Mental Health Investment Standard, cancer and primary care.

An additional £540m for mental health will be added to the pot and £1.6bn in 2018-19 for emergency and urgent care.

NHS England made the extra money available through lifting the need to CCGs to underspend their allocations by 0.5% this year and freeing up £370m of  CCG resources to help with local pressures and transformation priorities.

There’s also an extra £600m for CCG allocations this year which are set to be agreed at NHS England’s board meeting on Feburary 8.

CCG reaction

NHS Commissioners co-chair Dr Graham Jackson said: ‘Our members will be pleased to see the recognition that CCGs also need some dedicated support in the form of additional allocation funding and greater flexibility in the use of the budget locally as the sector wrestles to manage the finances for today while still needing to plan for tomorrow.

The introduction of the Commissioner Sustainability Fund reinforces how the whole system is struggling, not just one part of it.’

However he warned: ‘Even with this extra funding it may prove challenging for some areas to achieve the financial balance at the end of 18/19 that NHS England are looking for. It will be critical that NHS England provide support as well as financial resources to ensure delivery of control totals.’

The report also includes an incentive scheme for providers and CCGs to share savings from acute excess bed use and use it for community and intermediate care services.

NHS England is also reinforcing the move towards  Integrated Care Systems which will use a ‘full incentive structure’  to control spending. It will see commissioners and providers work closely with GP networks and local authorities to decide how to spend resources locally.
CCGs were also warned that £210m of CCG Quality Premium cash will only be handed out if  they succeed in ‘moderating demand for emergency care’.

Dr Jackson added: ‘We all know that this year is going to be incredibly challenging for everyone involved in planning and delivering health and care so it is good to see Refreshing NHS Plans 18/19 maintain the direction of travel towards an integrated system based around a place, as well as adding some much needed money into CCG allocations and the wider system. Our members are clear that integration is the right approach for our patients and for the sustainability of the NHS.’