Exclusive: Paybills and planned care targeted in huge savings drive

NHS trusts have been given a month to produce plans for merging back-office and pathology services with their neighbours, as part of a three-pronged plan to bear down on this year’s provider sector deficit.

Leaders in each of England’s 44 sustainability and transformation plan patches will also be given until the end of July to identify any planned care services in their area that are heavily dependent on locum staff and could be merged or transferred to other providers.

The news came in a letter from NHS Improvement sent to every trust chief executive in England this afternoon, setting out further details of the savings drive revealed by HSJ earlier on Tuesday.

The letter, from NHS Improvement chief executive Jim Mackey and chair Ed Smith, confirms that the provider sector is on course for a deficit of £550m this year. It warns that this level of deficit makes “management of the overall NHS financial position very risky”.

It says NHS Improvement is aiming to get the provider sector deficit down to £250m this year through a combination of three measures:

  • bearing down on paybill growth in selected providers;
  • large-scale back office consolidations; and
  • the merger or transfer of “unsustainable” elective services.

Full story in the HSJ 28 June 2016