NHS trusts in England posted a deficit of £886m at the end of the third quarter, £300m more than the target for the end of this financial year.
NHS Improvement (NHSI), which published the figures on Monday, predicts a year-end deficit of £750m-£850m, much higher than the £580m previously described as the highest figure the health service could afford without risking major financial problems.
After the first six months of the financial year, the deficit was £648m, but at that stage NHSI was clinging to the possibility that it could hit the end of year target. But on Monday it acknowledged this would not happen, blaming “one of the most challenging winters on record” with 5.34 million patients attending A&E units between October and December – 200,000 more than the same period in 2015 – and a 3.5% increase in the number of patients requiring major further in-hospital treatment.
Full story in The Guardian, 20 February 2017