The must read stories and biggest talking points in health policy

Half-time report

NHS trusts must reduce their combined monthly deficit to £107m to meet the official forecast figures in the second half of 2017-18, after recording a monthly deficit of almost £300m in the first half of the year.

According to analysis of official mid-year data by HSJ, more than 60 trusts have fallen behind their financial plans in the first six months, while dozens more must deliver significant run rate improvements to hit their forecasts.

Despite this, just 20 trusts made downward revisions to their forecast outturns after the first half of 2017-18.

As reported last week, the official forecast suggests a trust sector year-end deficit of £623m, compared to the planned £496m. But NHS Improvement admitted there are “significant risks” to delivering this position due to heavily “backloaded” savings plans.

There are now stricter rules in place for trusts wanting to make formal forecast revisions, but more trusts are likely to go through the revision process in the second half of the year.

Among the trusts that must deliver major improvements in the second half of the year, a number may have significant one-off transactions in the pipeline that will help improve their position. Royal Free London Foundation Trust, for example, is expected to benefit from a large land sale.