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What deficit does the provider sector face by the end of this financial year?
NHS Improvement says providers are experiencing one of the most challenging winters on record because of a huge increase in the demand for urgent and emergency care.
This is typified by the aggregate provider forecast outturn for 2016/17 being a deficit of £873m — significantly higher than planned and is, in the words of NHS Improvement, ‘unaffordable and unsustainable’.
However, the trust regulator says some short-term ‘actions’ will be taken, eg, extending its financial special measures programme and minimising elective loss in the final quarter, that could reduce the deficit to somewhere between £750-850m by the end of the financial year. The provider sector covers 238 separate trusts whose forecast revenue for 2016/17 is £79.6bn.
Despite this, the sector’s financial position is £1.3bn better than at the same point last year, says NHS Improvement. In addition, although 135 providers ended the quarter in deficit, it was still 44 fewer compared to the same period last year.