NHS England has further reduced the national elective recovery activity target to 103% following the impact of industrial action.
Initially, the target set out that the NHS must deliver 107% of elective activity in 2023/24 compared to a 2019/20 baseline, but was reduced to 105% over earlier this year.
But in a letter to ICBs addressing the ‘significant financial challenges’ created by industrial action in 2023/24, NHS England said the target will sit at 103% ‘for the remainder of the financial year’ to ‘cover the costs of industrial action to date’.
It will also formally allocating systems their full Elective Recovery Fund (ERF) funding, rather than ‘holdback’ funding.
NHS England said it and the Government had also agreed to allocate a total of £800m to ICBs sourced from reprioritised national budgets and new funding.
The exact amount allocated to each ICB will be relative to the size and cost of the staffing groups impacted by industrial action, NHS England confirmed to Healthcare Leader.
ICBs have now been asked to agree with NHS England the steps required to operate within this re-baselined by 22 November.
It said: ‘Plans should be based on a scenario where there are no further junior doctor or consultant strikes.
‘The foundation of this reset should be protecting patient safety, including in maternity and neonatal care, and prioritising UEC so that patients receive the best possible care this winter. Progress on existing commitments on elective and primary care recovery programmes, as well as other goals, should build on that foundation.’