‘No convincing plan’ for NHS to save £22bn, say scathing report

An influential committee of MPs has made sweeping criticisms of the Department of Health and NHS England over their handling of acute sector finances.

The Commons’ public accounts committee accused the government of being too slow to address growing hospital deficits, and said there is “not yet a convincing plan” for closing the £22bn efficiency gap by 2020-21.

In its latest report, published earlier this week, the cross-party committee also raised “serious concerns” about the data used by Lord Carter to identify efficiency savings.

Meg Hillier, the committee chair, said acute trusts are at “crisis point” and it was “unacceptable for senior government officials simply to point to excessive agency costs as a source of trusts’ difficulties”.

The financial health of the NHS provider sector has nosedived in recent years. Trusts reported a net £592m surplus in 2012-13, a £91m deficit in 2013-14, an £843m deficit in 2014-15, and the deficit for 2015-16 had already reached £2.3bn over the first nine months of the year…

Read full article in Nursing Times 17 March 2016.