Hospital Dr News

Deficit for NHS providers cut by two-thirds in last financial year

The deficit for NHS providers has been cut by two-thirds in the financial year just ended – from £2.4 billion in 2015/16 to £791 million in 2016/17.

This is an improvement of £1.7 billion, driven by savings of over £3.1 billion (3.7%) with over £700 million saved on locum and agency use in the year.

This is against a backdrop of rising demand and a significant increase in delayed transfers of care.

Analysis shows that providers experienced a 24.5% increase in delayed days in 2016/17 compared to 2015/16.

Jim Mackey, Chief Executive of NHS Improvement, said: “This year, the NHS has achieved the impossible. No healthcare system in the developed world has managed to achieve this level of efficiency.

“Sheer hard work by our staff has seen us finish the year in a far more healthy financial position than in recent times, whilst maintaining a focus on patient safety, compassion and outcomes.

“The NHS has delivered this financial turnaround at the same time as dealing with very high levels of demand – particularly over the winter period.  In addition, there have been great efforts made in improving outcomes for patients.”

NHS Improvement said the challenge for NHS providers next year is to reduce the current planned deficit of around £500 million.

This figure is based on the aggregation of provider plans and its delivery is dependent on a number of key assumptions around risk management, agreed activity levels and beds being freed up as the current issues which prevent patients leaving hospital are addressed.

Mackey added: “People should feel justly proud of what they’ve achieved this year, and go into next year knowing that, whilst it will be hard, the challenge certainly is not impossible.”

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