Mission Impossible? The task for NHS Providers in 2017/2018

The 2017 Budget on 8 March confirmed that, while there was extra money for social care and a small amount of extra capital funding for the NHS, there would be no extra revenue funding for the NHS in 2017/18, the new financial year which starts on 1 April 2017. Analysis by NHS Providers predicts that, without realism, flexibility and support, it will be impossible for the NHS hospital, ambulance, community and mental health trusts who account for more than 63% of NHS spend to deliver all that they are being asked for in 2017/18.


2017/18 NHS trust delivery requirements are set out in the NHS 2017/19 planning guidance. They can be summarised as:

  • absorb a forecast 5.2% demand and cost increase
  • deliver the required NHS constitutional performance targets, for example the 95% A&E four hour standard, the 18 week elective surgery standard and the cancer targets
  • eliminate the provider sector financial deficit and deliver a minimum zero aggregate provider sector financial balance
  • all within the NHS funding allocation, which will increase in 2017/18 by a much lower amount than in 2016/17.

Full report available at NHS Providers, 20 March 2017