This latest quarterly monitoring report from The Kings Fund finds that NHS is now planning to delay or cancel spending in half of local areas this year to meet financial targets. The survey of NHS trust finance directors suggests that NHS finances have improved over the last quarter of 2016/17 but whilst progress has been made in reducing agency spending, the underlying financial position remains a source of concern with many trusts having relied on one-off actions to improve their financial position.
The 2017/18 financial year looks set to be another difficult one for the NHS. While trust finance directors are more optimistic than at this time last year, 43 per cent of them expect to overspend their budget and a similar proportion (46 per cent) are concerned about meeting financial targets. This lack of confidence extends to the commissioning sector, with only one in five CCG finance leads confident they can achieve financial balance this year.