• NHS trust income for community services fell in 2017-18 compared to the previous year, despite an increase for all other services
  • NHS Improvement accounts showed the overall income for community services fell by £300m in 2017-18 compared to 2016-17
  • Income for community services from CCGs and NHS England fell by £200m while funding from other sources fell by £100m

Spending on community services provided by NHS trusts fell by £300m in 2017-18 despite increases in all other services, HSJ can reveal.

NHS trust income for community services in England fell from £7.6bn in 2016-17 to £7.3bn in 2017-18. During the same period, income for all other sectors increased by more than £2bn, the consolidated accounts published by NHS Improvement revealed.

The fall in spending has prompted concerns over investment in community services, which has been repeatedly highlighted by NHS England as a priority since it launched the NHS Five Year Forward View.

NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts and foundation trusts, said the figures suggested “once again that despite the opportunity for community services to play a leading role in the transformation of health and care services… they remain underfunded and marginalised.”

NHS Improvement’s consolidated accounts, published last week, showed income from NHS England and clinical commissioning groups totalled £5.8bn in 2017-18 with other income from local authorities, for example, totalling £1.4bn. 

Total income for acute services in England increased by £2bn, mental health saw a £200m rise and ambulance services received a £137m increase.

The figures do not include spending on community services provided by non-NHS bodies. It is understood that around £10bn per year is spent on community services. 

In a report, published in May, NHS Providers found more than half of NHS trusts providing community services had seen real terms decreases in income for 2018-19, suggesting the fall in spending will continue this financial year.

NHS trusts are the main providers for adult community services for at least 169 out of 208 CCGs.

A spokesman for NHS England said the figures were an “invalid” way to track community spend as they do not account for non-NHS bodies and spending by local authourities. 

HSJ understands income from local authourities is included within the “other sources” figure. 

NHS England was asked to confirm whether by its own analysis spending on community services had increased or decreased in 2017-18, however HSJ did not receive a response. 

NHS Clinical Commissioners was approached for comment. 

Story was updated at 15:20 after HSJ recieved information on local authourity spend