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NHS facing £2 billion “financial crisis”

NHS facing £2 billion “financial crisis”

NHS facing £2 billion “financial crisis”

An additional £2 billion in funding is needed to prevent a crisis in the NHS, a healthcare think tank has claimed. 

The King’s Fund’s briefing, published before the Chancellor makes his annual Autumn Statement, says that the settlement agreed for the NHS in 2015/16 should be reopened to prevent a "financial crisis". 

The report claims that unless the money is found, patients will bear the cost as staff numbers are cut, waiting times rise and the quality of care deteriorates. 

Figures published by the Trust Development Authority and foundation trust regulator Monitor show that halfway through the year, provider trusts were in deficit by £630 million, significantly worse than at the end of the first quarter. 

With an unprecedented number of hospitals reporting defecits, the think tank suggests that in 2015/2016 the funding deployed through the Better Care Fund and the 0.2% increase in budget will lead to an inevitable struggles.

 Chris Ham, Chief Executive of The King's Fund said: “There is scope to improve productivity in the NHS, but this will not be enough to respond to unprecedented pressures on budgets and meet rising demand for services.”

Recent pledges from the main political parties to increase funding have been welcomed but the report states that it’s clear the scale or the urgency of the financial challenge facing the NHS has not been addressed.

The NHS faces huge pressures as a result of an unprecedented funding squeeze, rising demand for services and the need to safeguard quality of care.

There are also calls for a new transformation fund to help pay for the development of new community-based services and to help meet the transition costs towards new models of care.  Even under the most optimistic scenario outlined in the recent NHS Five Year Forward view, and additional £8 billion a year in funding will be required by 2020.

Unless this money is found Ham believes that “patients will bear the cost as waiting times rise and quality of care deteriorates”.


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