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2011-12 saw biggest number of trust deficits for half-decade

Ten NHS hospital trusts recorded deficits in 2011-12 – the largest number to finish a year in the red for more than half a decade, Department of Health figures published today show.

Newham University Hospital Trust, in east London, and Mid Essex Hospital Services Trust, recorded losses of £200,000 and £2m respectively, despite forecasting they would finish 2011-12 in the black as late as December 2011.

Most of the other trusts in deficit were also based in or around the capital, as were the three primary care trusts that recorded full year overspends.

They included South London Healthcare Trust, with a deficit of £65m; Barking Havering and Redbridge Hospitals Trust, £50m; Whipps Cross University Hospitals Trust, £6m; Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust, £12m; Imperial College Healthcare Trust, £8m; North West London Hospitals Trust, £8m; Enfield PCT, £17m; Haringey Teaching PCT, £17m; and Barnet PCT, £14m.

The remaining trust deficits were £6m at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare and £19m at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals.

The number of NHS trusts with full year deficits was the largest since the NHS’s financial crisis in the middle of the last decade.

The deficits among London trusts pushed the trust sector in the region £96m into the red overall, compared to a net surplus of £45m for all English NHS trusts.

However, the bottom line surplus for NHS commissioners and strategic health authorities rose to £1.6bn by the end of the year, up from £1.4bn at the end of 2010-11 and the £1.5bn the DH was forecasting three months before the end of 2011-12.

NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson’s annual report, in which the figures were published, stated: “The PCT and SHA surplus will be carried forward into 2012-13 and will help to make sure the NHS is in the best position as we move forward into the new landscape.”

The report claimed that in 2011-12 the NHS overall delivered savings of £5.8bn, more than a quarter of the estimated £20bn quality, innovation, productivity and prevention (QIPP) productivity savings it will need by 2015.

“As we have previously noted,” it stated, “the demands of an ageing population and increased costs owing to developments in drugs and advancing medical technologies present challenging financial conditions in a constrained economic environment.

“All parts of the NHS will need to take bold, long-term measures to rise to this challenge and deliver sustainable improvement in 2012-13.”

Readers' comments (4)

  • Is the £5.8 Bn an annually recurring Saving or just a one-year event?

    As I understood it, the £20 Bn needed to be Annually Recurring Reduction in Cash Spending so that it could be re-invested in new Initiatives?

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  • Hi anonymous 6:38 - the £20bn is the total savings target over a four year period that began somewhere around 2009 and runs to end of 2014/15 financial year (yes, I know that doesn't add up to four years, but hang on in there).

    David Nicholson, Jim Easton et al have all publicly made it clear that the need for savings will continue. Indeed Sir D was talking about it running to 2020 at today's Confed conference. Interestingly a delegate asked Sir D whether that means that cumulatively this would run to £50bn+ savings and if so where's this going to come from.

    I missed the answer to that...

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  • NHS savings are easier when there is a pay freeze, will be interesting to see where pay negotiations leave the NHS in future.

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  • Hi Anon 6:38,

    Just to clarify, no, it's certainly not all recurring savings, but we don't know at the moment what proportion. An audit commission review of the 2010-11 year found that trusts and PCTs achieved 81% of planned savings, and of those achieved 23% were achieved non-recurrently.

    The past financial year was a lot more challenging for trusts, so it would be unsurprising if a larger proportion of the savings were non-recurrent, but we don't know that at the moment.

    In terms of the "how does that make four years?" question, the DH only started formally reporting on/tracking "qipp savings" in its financial reporting in 2011-12, and will do so until 2015. The QIPP plans were drawn up mid-2009, but I don't think the plan actually kicked in in-year. The original plan was for a 2014 deadline, but that was pushed back in 2010: http://www.hsj.co.uk/news/finance/nhs-given-another-year-to-hit-20bn-savings-target/5023235.article.

    In terms of future savings, yep, the NHS is almost certainly going to need to continue to make savings of at least the same order of magnitude in the years after QIPP, unless the country's economic fortunes turn around pretty dramatically. Don't need DN to tell you that, only need to look at the Treasury's plans for fiscal contraction in the 2 years after 2015, or indeed the OBR's long-term forecasts.

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