Savings targets for trusts unsustainable in long term
06 July 2017
- Healthcare Financial Management Association publishes NHS financial temperature check
- Survey of finance directors from trusts and CCGs reveal biggest risk is non-achievement of cost savings programmes
- We say saving targets are unsustainable in long term as trusts asked to cut costs further
The Healthcare Financial Management Association has published its NHS financial temperature check for July 2017, covering
The report sets out the views of finance directors on the financial issues facing the NHS in England.
Key findings from the survey include:
- Most trusts in the acute sector are forecasting a deficit for 2017/18, while most mental health and community providers are predicting a surplus.
- Most trusts (84%) performed as well or better in 2016/17 than they expected at the beginning of the financial year.
- Agency costs remain the most common cause of adverse variance for trusts
- Finance directors continue to attribute significant risk to the achievement of financial plans: 54% of trusts and 47% of CCGs rate their financial plans as high risk
- The most prevalent financial risk identified by both CCGs and trusts is non-achievement of cost savings programmes
Responding to the HFMA NHS financial temperature check, the head of analysis at NHS Providers, Phillippa Hentsch said:
“While the HFMA NHS financial temperature check highlights the achievement trusts made in dramatically reducing the provider sector deficit in 2016/17, it shows that the task for 2017/18 will be even harder.
To achieve these savings, trusts will need to significantly increase the amount of one off savings, which is an unsustainable approach in the long term.
“The report shows trusts will be expected to make even greater savings in 2017/18 which average 4.5% of their income, with some individual providers needing to make savings nearer 10%. It also highlights that to achieve these trusts will need to significantly increase the amount of one off savings, which is an unsustainable approach in the long term.
“Trusts have acted with urgency to tackle spending on agency staff and have delivered savings of £700m. This will continue to be a priority in the year ahead, but issues with agency spend are symptomatic of the wider workforce pressures the NHS faces, such as difficulties in recruiting and retaining NHS staff. These are pressures that NHS trusts cannot solve alone, but require a system wide response.”