The Health Foundation today responded to the publication of the NHS financial statistics for Q4 2016/17.

Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and Economics at the Health Foundation, said: ‘The deficit of £791m means that NHS trust have missed their target of £580m. This is a large improvement on last year’s £2.45bn, ending a trend of rising deficits that began in 2013/14. However the service still faces a continued challenge over the next two years following the end of frontloaded investment.

‘Less than half of NHS trusts were in deficit last year compared to two thirds the year before. This is a big improvement, but with 44% of trusts in deficit there are clearly still substantial pressures across the system and there is more work to be done.

‘The tireless efforts of people working in the NHS have so far protected patients from a serious decline in the quality of services despite increasing pressures, but many are feeling increasingly undervalued and overworked.

‘There remains cause for concern over the financial situation of the NHS, and it seems certain that costs are set to continue rising faster than resources. Even the most generous sums promised by the main parties in the recent election were not enough to meet the rising pressures on the system.

‘The NHS is going through the most austere decade since its inception. Without substantial investment there will be unavoidable, and hugely difficult, choices to be made about the level of service we expect from the NHS, and how we are willing to find the money to pay for it.’

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Jack Cutforth
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