The King’s Fund’s latest monitoring report reveals that half of clinical commissioning group (CCG) finance leads say that achieving this year’s financial forecast is likely to depend on delaying or cancelling spending with more than 40% reporting that they plan to review or reduce the level of treatment that they planned to commission. Whilst some progress has been made, the report suggests that the underlying financial position remains gloomy, with a large number of trusts relying on one-off actions such as land sales and Sustainability and Transformation Fund payments to balance the books.
For 2017/18 and again in 2018/19 the NHS will allocate £1.8 billion for the Sustainability and Transformation Fund which will be released to predominantly acute trusts, who meet targets on finance and A&E. This funding will help to reduce the reported spending deficit. Richard Murray, Director of Policy for The King’s Fund, said that ‘while the financial picture improved at the end of the last financial year, much of this is down to one-off actions such as selling land. The high levels of concern about the year ahead suggest that NHS providers are again likely to run up a significant deficit in 2017/18, a year when the sector is supposed to be in balance.’