Is the DHSC going to write off trust debts?
Control totals will be gone at the end of the 2018/19 financial year and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) will have to forgive the debts of some NHS trusts, according to an NHS Improvement chief.
Ian Dalton, chief executive of NHS Improvement, told Health Service Journal (HSJ) to expect major changes to the NHS’s financial architecture in April, including an end to control totals. He also said there would be increased scrutiny of the provider sustainability fund (PSF). He said that a more intelligent approach than control totals was required because the present system gives managers no incentive to behave in a financially sustainable way. He added that the ring-fenced funds in PSF are a good thing, but their positive effects have not been seen right across the service.
He predicted that the DHSC would write off trusts debts where repayment will not be possible. The 2017/18 accounts showed that trusts collectively owed the DHSC more than £11bn. The debt at the end of 2014/15 was £2.9bn.
Mr Dalton said that trusts would be called on to demonstrate even higher levels of productivity to achieve savings of more than 4.3%.
He also said that the gap between tariff prices and the cost of care would be addressed.