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NHS Providers estimates £750m provider deficit as DH withholds figures


By Carolyn Wickware
23 May 2017

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The hospital trust representative body has said the provider deficit is likely to be around £750m for 2016/17, as the Government withholds official figures until after the general election.

According to data collected by NHS Providers the year-end deficit for NHS trusts in 2016/17 will be between £700 and £750m – around 70% less than the previous year’s deficit of £2.45bn.

The estimate is also an improvement on the third quarter forecast issued in February, which showed the deficit standing at £886m.

The hospital trust representative body has said the provider deficit is likely to be around £750m for 2016/17, as the Government withholds official figures until after the general election.

According to data collected by NHS Providers the year-end deficit for NHS trusts in 2016/17 will be between £700 and £750m – around 70% less than the previous year’s deficit of £2.45bn.

The estimate is also an improvement on the third quarter forecast issued in February, which showed the deficit standing at £886m.

The calculation was based on third quarter trajectories and an estimation that trusts will have made cost improvement gains of more than £3.3 billion – more than 4% of turnover, and £200 million more than 2015/16. 

NHS Improvement set a target to reduce the deficit to £580m last year saying that this was the most the health service could afford to spend without incurring financial problems.

However, Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers said a £750m funding gap is ‘a significant achievement’, that showed the hard work undertaken by trusts to improve efficiency.

He said: ‘A year end performance of between £700 and £750m would be a particularly good achievement given that trusts reported a £238m deterioration in Q3, due to the immense operational and financial pressures caused by record demand over the winter period.

‘Our estimate means that trusts have recovered more than two thirds of that deterioration in the last three months – a very good result.’

But Mr Hopson added that most trusts rely on one-off savings to meet their year-end targets, amounting to £1bn of the estimated gain.

He said: ‘It’s also clear that, with this 2016/17 year end result, the sector will struggle to eliminate the provider deficit in 2017/18 as originally planned.

‘In our view, given the drop in 2017/18 funding, providers will do exceptionally well to match 2016/17’s deficit.’

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