NHS foundation trusts need to redouble their efforts to make efficiency savings and reduce a deficit that is close to £1bn this year the healthcare regulator Monitor has warned.
In addition to highlighting its concerns over the deficit, the regulator has also informed the 152 foundation trusts that they will come under increasing pressure unless they demonstrate faster improvements in productivity.
The latest forecast deficit from all foundation trusts for 2015/16 is £989m – a figure that Monitor considers “unaffordable.” To tackle the spiralling deficit, the regulator has pledged to clamp down further on poor financial and operational performance, including rating all foundation trusts on a sliding scale.
Speaking this week at the Healthcare Financial Management Association annual conference in Birmingham, Monitor’s chief executive Dr David Bennett said: “The NHS is in the difficult position of having to design its future at the same time as fixing its present”, said Dr Bennett. “The Five Year Forward View sets out a vision for how the NHS needs to change, but it is going to be hard work getting there, especially as we have a huge challenge on our hands right now.
“I recognise that just because deficits mostly sit with providers doesn’t mean they are the only NHS organisations that need to up their game. Nevertheless, current plans are unaffordable, and all providers have to make a major contribution to efficiency improvements, even those who aren’t currently forecasting to be in deficit. This means hospitals leaving no stone unturned, and adopting best and better practice everywhere; avoiding unnecessary expenditure, and adopting new ways of working.”