latest health care news

11.09.18

NHS trusts forecast ‘clearly unaffordable’ £519m deficit

NHS trusts have forecast a combined deficit of £519m for this year in the latest quarterly report, breaking previous commitment from regulators to break even.

NHS Improvement’s report said that this projected deficit is “clearly unaffordable,” with trusts across England in a total deficit of £814m at the end of June.

This is £22m better than planned at the beginning of the year, but £78m worse than the same quarter last year.

A&E saw 5.6m patients in under four hours between April and June, more than the same period last year despite a rise in attendance.

But 3,402 patients had to wait longer than 52 weeks for treatment compared to the same time last year.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said: "Trusts are doing all they can to respond to a rapidly increasing demand, growing workforce and shortages and continuing pressure on NHS finances."

"Trusts tell us they are most worried about the workforce shortages they face, and it’s a real concern that these figures have shown such a big increase in vacancy levels.

"It’s worrying that this problem is getting worse rather than better."

Also revealed in the report was an almost 10% increase in the number of NHS staff vacancies this quarter, with the total figure now reaching 107,743 at the end of June out of the total one million staff employed by the NHS.

NHS Improvement have predicted this number will continue to rise throughout the financial year, with a total of 41,722 nursing vacancies alone leading to a risk of a “national crisis.”

Ian Dalton, chief executive of NHS Improvement, said: “Staff are working extremely hard to cope with a rise in A&E attendances and high occupancy levels.

“A&Es up and down the country have been successful in treating more patients than ever before within four hours.

“We are helping trusts ensure that no-one stays in hospital longer than they need to, so that beds are free for other patients who urgently need them.”

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Image credit - yevtony

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