NHS trust bosses slam £600m hospital fines over patient targets

Hospitals are being fined £600m a year for missing key NHS patient treatment targets in what bosses claim is a “shortsighted” system that hits patients and pushes them deeper into debt.

NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts, says that the fines levied by GP groups are nonsensical, given that about 90% of trusts are in deficit and the sector is due to end the financial year later this week an estimated £2.8bn in the red.

“NHS trust chief executives tell us they are intensely frustrated by these fines and see them as shortsighted, counterproductive and reflecting a sense of denial about how serious the problems facing hospital, community, mental health and ambulance services really are,” said Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers.

Penalties are being imposed on trusts across England for failing to treat patients waiting for A&E, cancer and non-urgent care quickly enough, even though almost all hospitals are struggling to meet the growing demand from patients. One trust – Bart’s in London – was fined nearly £53m last year.

Full story in The Guardian 29 March 2016