The NHS Trust Development Authority has today published the overarching financial position of NHS Trusts for the first quarter of 2015/16.
The figures, which cover the period 1 April 2015 to 30 June 2015, show that the NHS Trust sector ended the first quarter of the year £485 million in deficit against an initial planned deficit of £412 million. Monitor has also published figures today on the financial position of Foundation Trusts.
The financial position reflects a number of pressures on the NHS providers. Some of the most significant pressures are:
• higher than planned levels of agency staffing paid for at premium rates both to meet the rise in demand for services and as a direct response to the heightened focus on service quality
• continued pressure for hospital-based care, demonstrated by the level of demand for urgent and emergency services and continuing difficulties with the discharge of medically fit patients to more appropriate care settings
• a reduction in the level of income expected by NHS Trusts compared with that received last year, combined with a general weakness in financial resilience
These figures pre-date the announcement in June to introduce a package of new measures aimed at cutting costs whilst improving the quality of care. New rules on management consultancy spend came into force immediately and we and Monitor have been working with the sector on new measures to bring high levels of spending on agency staffing under control. The measures range from mandating the use of approved frameworks, setting maximum rates and putting a cap on agency staffing spend by Trust – these controls are currently being rolled out.
In the first three months of this year, NHS Trusts had spent over £380 million on agency and contract staff. This rise in spending is expected to slow as the new controls come into force.