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CCGs set to overspend as financial confidence drops

CCGs set to overspend as financial confidence drops

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One in eight clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will overspend their budgets for the previous financial year, a report has found. 

One in eight trusts will also over spend their budgets for 2014/15. 

Only 40% of hospital and provider finance directors are confident their organisation will be able to break even in 2014/15, and only 16% believe it is possible for 2015/16. 

CCG finance leads are more optimistic, although only a third are confident of balancing the books in 2015/16, the King's Fund's latest quarterly monitoring report reveals. 

The survey has revealed concerns over the implementation of the £3.8 billion Better Care Fund, which will see an additional £1.9 billion transferred from the NHS to support joint working between health and social care from April 2015.

NHS England has estimated that hospitals will need to reduce emergency admissions by 15 per cent - a prospect rated as very unlikely by nearly 70% of hospital finance directors.

Meanwhile, pressures on hospital waiting lists are growing, with more than 360,000 additional people waiting for treatment in January 2014, compared to the same month last year. Key findings from this quarter's analysis of performance data include:

 - 4.8% of patients spent four or more hours in A&E during the quarter to the end of March 2014

 - 9.6% of patients waited longer than 18 weeks for inpatient treatment in January, the highest proportion since June 2011

 - Health care-acquired infections remain at historically low levels with just 382 cases of C difficile and 36 cases of MRSA reported in January 2014

 - The number of delayed transfers of care remains stable, with 4,266 patients recorded as delayed on the last Thursday of February, an increase of 2.6% over the year.

Richard Murray, director of policy at The King's Fund, said: "The NHS has coped well during the winter and avoided the A&E crisis that was so widely predicted. However, as the implications for hospitals of implementing the Better Care Fund sink in, there is a growing recognition that the NHS will face a financial crisis in 2015/16, if not before. 

"It is now certain that the next government will need to find more funding for the NHS or accept significant cuts to services."

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