There is “not yet a convincing plan” to avoid a ‘black hole’ in NHS finances, a damning report told the government.
The Public Accounts Committee – which is made up of MPs, and scrutinises the value for money of public spending – released their latest report today.
It read: “There is not yet a convincing plan in place for closing the £22 billion efficiency gap and avoiding a ‘black hole’ in NHS finances.”
The NHS is expected to find £22bn in efficiency savings by 2020-21, but the MPs did not currently believe that would be possible.
“We… have not yet seen the overarching and convincing plan for where and how the £22 billion savings needed by 2020-21 will be made,” the MPs added.
NHS trusts’ and foundation trusts’ finances have deteriorated “at a severe and rapid pace”, the report also concluded, with trusts’ £843 million deficit in 2014-15 representing a “sharp decline from the £91 million deficit reported in 2013-14.”
Moreover, the scathing report said that the government’s 4% efficiency targets for NHS trusts has been both “ineffective” and “caused long-term damage”.
The report stated that the 4% efficiency savings for trusts – more than double the 1-2% efficiency savings that is historic in the NHS – “proved overly ambitious”.
However, the Department of Health told PAC – chaired by Meg Hillier, MP (pictured) – that “some trusts should have even tougher targets placed on them”.
See the full report here