NHS chief admits trusts will miss financial target

An NHS chief has admitted for the first time hospital trusts will miss their financial target this year as forecasts predict they are on course for a combined deficit of nearly £1 billion.

Jim Mackey, head of NHS Improvement, said efforts are now focused on “containing this to as manageable a number as we can” as trusts struggle with ballooning deficits.

Figures obtained from trusts by the Heath Service Journal (HSJ) show they are heading for a year-end deficit of around £970 million.

This is far higher than the £690m deficit predicted in November and would significantly breach the £580m maximum deficit “control target” set by national leaders.

The numbers, which have been collected from all but five of England’s 237 NHS trusts, come ahead of the official figures next week and suggest their financial positions have deteriorated as the year has progressed.

However, it is understood the regulator, NHS Improvement, has managed to bring some of the forecasted deficits down following discussions with trust boards.

Although it is not clear to what extent the overall forecast has been reduced, or by what means.

Full story in Irvine Times, 16 February 2017