How big will the deficit be for the provider sector in 2017/18?
NHS providers’ performance results for the first quarter suggest an aggregate full-year deficit by April 2018 of £523m, £27m worse than planned.
As of the end of the first quarter, the sector reports an aggregate year-to-date deficit of £736m, £30m off plan, with 67 of 233 providers failing to achieve planned financial positions. The regulator NHS Improvement (NHSI) says providers’ underperformance was driven by a shortfall in operating incomes and ‘slippage’ in cost improvement programmes (CIPs).
Providers face the major problem of a shortage of hospital beds caused by delayed transfers of care. NHSI says the increase in occupancy is partly a result of increased emergency pressure. The sector has seen a 3.81% increase in emergency admissions via A&E in the first quarter compared to the same period last year.
Data show that A&E performance of 90.29% at quarter one has met the national ambition of delivering 90% by September 2017. However, NHSI describes meeting the national standard of 95% by the end of the year as ‘challenging’.
Another challenge is the number of elective patients waiting for NHS treatment in England has exceeded 3.6m for the first time since the waiting time target was introduced in August 2007.