New NHS organisations launched but already in deficit

As the July lift-off day for so-called Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) draws closer there is little sign anywhere in the NHS that the new system will offer any significant change or benefit.

They will not herald either the demise of the NHS, which has so often been prematurely and unhelpfully pronounced by some campaigners, or the smooth coordination and integration of services claimed by deluded advocates of this second complete reorganisation of the NHS since David Cameron’s ConDem coalition took power in 2010.

The first part of this survey warned that almost all of the ICS areas for which figures are available are already projecting substantial deficits in their first year in charge. Having now sought information on the remainder, we know that some – deliberately, or by omission – have published no information at all, but all those for which we have any data are facing deficits and outright cuts in spending this year, with no relief in sight.

Rumours that these deficits – which result from the abrupt withdrawal of “non-recurring” funding streams that helped to keep most trusts and CCGs out of the red during the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 – could add up to as much as £4 billion have been published in board minutes.

Full story in The Lowdown, 22 May 2022