latest health care news

23.03.17

NHSI place another three trusts in financial special measures

Three more trusts will be placed into financial special measures to assist them with meeting savings plans, NHS Improvement (NHSI) has revealed. But the NHS Confederation’s CEO claims that there is a real danger that vital efforts to transform care and make it more sustainable will be “derailed because it takes all our effort to maintain current care and balance the books”.

The financial special measures programme was brought in eight months ago to help trusts struggling financially, and has saved the NHS around £100m in improving efficiencies since its inception.

The trusts who have now been placed into financial special measures were found to be failing in controlling their agreed total costs with NHSI, as they ran up a combined deficit of £145m.

The news follows a similar announcement in October last year when three separate trusts were put in financial special measures by the regulator.

The latest trusts to be placed in special measures are: 

  • St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust.

Now that the trusts have been placed in special measures, they will receive a support package, which will involve the trusts agreeing on a recovery plan with NHSI and will also be appointed a financial improvement director who is tasked with both supporting and holding to account leaders of the trust for their financial decisions.

Jim Mackey, chief executive of NHSI, said that with demand high during such a tough period for the NHS, it was more important than ever for trusts to “keep a strong grip on their finances”.

“We know that trusts meeting their financial plans also provide better quality services to patients,” he added. “Financial special measures has already saved the NHS around £100m in 2016-17. The three trusts being put into financial special measures are not on course to meet their savings targets and financial special measures will be an effective way of supporting them to significantly improve.”

Of the trusts put into financial special measures last year, two have already improved enough to be taken out of the programme, something that NHS leaders have said shows the importance for not just extra cash to be given to struggling trusts, but assistance with managing their finances efficiently.

Niall Dickson, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, claimed the news should come as evidence that trusts were working “flat out” to sustain their services with incredibly tight finances. 

“There is a real danger that vital efforts to transform care and make it more sustainable will be derailed because it takes all our effort to maintain current care and balance the books,” he said. “In the Budget the government showed it is listening to calls for more support for transformation and, crucially, for social care, however financial pressure remains extreme.”

Dickson concluded that there was a growing recognition in the NHS that money alone would not solve its problems, as he also called for the health and care system to be redesigned, describing it as “not fit-for-purpose and it is time we all admitted it”.

Top image St George's and John Stillwell

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