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Deficit now “the new normal”, says health chief


9 October 2015

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Deficit has now become “the new normal” in the NHS, and can no longer be explained by individual mismanagement, a think-tank chief executive suggested today.

Nigel Edwards, Nuffield Trust chief executive said that despite the “bleak” outlook there are solutions to this problem, however both the approach and time-scale for this must change.

Deficit has now become “the new normal” in the NHS, and can no longer be explained by individual mismanagement, a think-tank chief executive suggested today.

Nigel Edwards, Nuffield Trust chief executive said that despite the “bleak” outlook there are solutions to this problem, however both the approach and time-scale for this must change.

“Today’s figures show that deficit has become the ‘new normal’ for the NHS. With 79% of trusts in the red, the outlook for breaking even by the end of this financial year is bleak."

Edwards continued: “There are solutions to this problem – redefining how care is delivered, reducing reliance on agency staffing, and driving down waste. But these are difficult to achieve and will take much, much longer than the impending deadline for the Department for Health to balance the books in April 2016.”

He also said that, considering this problem has been evident for “quite some time” it suggests “an overly leisurely approach to an urgent problem.”

“Given the scale of these deficits, there appears to be an extraordinary absence of the sort of urgency one might expect from those in charge of the NHS,”

 he stated.

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