NHS deficits in 2016

The aggregate deficit of NHS providers and commissioners at the end of 2015/15 was £1.85 billion – a threefold increase on the previous year and the largest aggregate deficit in NHS history. This new briefing from the Kings Fund looks at the underlying drivers of the deficits along with strategies being employed to tackle them.

 

 

Key messages:

  • NHS providers and commissioners ended 2015/16 with a deficit of £1.85 billion – the largest aggregate deficit in NHS history.
  • Evidence suggests that, in recent years, mental health and community services providers have delivered relatively strong financial performance, which may have come at the expense of cuts in staff and risks to patient care.
  • Over the past two years the financial position of local commissioners has deteriorated sharply.
  • There are significant opportunities for the NHS to deliver better value care, but these cannot be achieved at the pace or scale needed to deliver £22 billion of efficiency savings by 2020/21
  • Programmes to implement new models of care and transform services offer significant opportunities to improve care, but these will not deliver savings in the short term.
  • The principal cause of the deficit is that funding has not kept pace with the increasing demand for services.

Related: Kings Fund press release

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