How is the NHS performing? March 2018 quarterly monitoring report

The King’s Fund| March 2018 | How is the NHS performing? March 2018 quarterly monitoring report 

The King’s Fund has released its quarterly monitoring report (QMR) of NHS performance. Its analysis finds increased numbers of patients are facing long waits for hospital treatment, with those experiencing the longest delay often most in need of treatment. As demand for services is continuing to rise, the think tank finds it unlikely that meeting waiting time targets will become more achievable, with implications for how the NHS protects patients waiting the longest (The King’s Fund).

Since the last QMR there has been a Budget, new planning guidance for 2018/19 and most (but not all) of winter.  The King’s Fund considers the impact of these factors together with their latest survey data sources to discuss the current position and forecast for finance and performance.

The report focuses on four key areas:

  • Finance
  • Perforamce
  • Waiting times: making the sickest wait longest
  • Looking to the future

It is available at the King’s Fund 


Sustainability and Transformation Plans: What, why and where next?

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has published Sustainability and transformation plans (STPs): what, why and where next

The NHS is facing one of the most challenging periods in its history, with a funding gap of more than £22 billion over the coming years. And the pressure on the social care system is more acute than ever, with many councils raising eligibility thresholds and making cuts to social care budgets.

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Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) – which are local health and care reform plans, authored jointly by NHS and local government leaders to improve outcomes and drive greater efficiency in their local area – are one of the government’s main responses to this problem. These plans rightly focus on decentralising power within the NHS, investing in leadership and relationships to drive improvements, and on local health and care organisations coming together to overcome the silos created by the 2012 Health and Care Act.

This report looks at the most promising reform solutions that have been identified by STPs, and also sets out the range of challenges that stand in the way of them realising their vision for improved health and efficiency.

Download summary here or full report here


How is the NHS performing?


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.

Full report

Press release

NHS finance

The House of Commons Library has published The financial sustainability of the NHS in England.

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This briefing provides background on the current funding settlement for the NHS in England, the financial and operational performance of the health service, and measures being taken to ensure its future sustainability, including Sustainability and Transformation Plans. It also provides background on the Department of Health’s Annual Report and Accounts for 2015/16 and ongoing select committee scrutiny of NHS funding.

Financial sustainability of the NHS

The National Audit Office has published Financial sustainability of the NHS.

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This is the fifth report on the financial sustainability of the NHS produce by the National Audit Office. This report highlights that with more than two-thirds of trusts in deficit in 2015-16 and an increasing number of clinical commissioning groups unable to keep their spending within budget, the financial problems are endemic and this is not sustainable.

Additional link: Kings Fund press release

CCGs warned over withholding payments from mental health providers

NHS England & NHS Improvement | Published online: 8 November 2016

Image source: NHS Improvement

This document provides technical guidance on how providers and commissioners can link locally agreed quality and outcome measures to payment. It has been developed to support mental health providers and commissioners to implement the new requirements under the 2017-19 local pricing rules. It is aimed at all those professionals in provider and commissioner organisations who need to work together to successfully link quality and outcome measures to payment – this includes clinicians, finance and contracting professionals and senior management.

Read the full guidance here