The Department of Health today published its accounts for 2015/16. The key figures and points to note are:
- Today’s annual accounts confirm that the Department of Health (DH) overspent the health budget set by the Treasury in 2015/16. DH overspent its Revenue Departmental Expenditure Limit (RDEL) by £207m.
- This is much lower than the recurrent underlying deficit in NHS providers which was £2.8bn. DH relied on a series of one-off accounting measures that are not repeatable or sustainable to bring down the total deficit.
- DH did not exceed the money voted in parliament due to an administrative error in the treatment of National Insurance receipts.
- Health spending in 2015/16 grew in real terms by 3.4% – the biggest spending increase since 2009/10.
- The 2015 Spending Review ‘front-loaded’ funding for the NHS. This year (2016/17) DH funding is increasing by £3.1bn – a 2.6% increase – within this NHS England’s budget is to increase by an even larger £5.4bn. This is with the aim of bringing providers back into balance and helping services transform.
- From 2017/18 to 2020/21 total health spending will grow by just 0.7% a year in real terms – less than a third of the rate of increase this year.
- At the end of 2015/16, 65% of NHS providers were in deficit. Despite the cash injection from the front-loaded Spending Review settlement, providers are heading towards a £0.55bn overspend for 2016/17.
- NHS Improvement has today acknowledged that achieving balance across the sector is not realistic and has set a less demanding target of a £250m deficit for 2016/17.
In response to this announcement, Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and Economics at the Health Foundation, said:
'Today’s figures confirm the Department of Health overspent its budget – not surprising given the scale of financial difficulty across NHS providers, stemming from national failings in workforce planning and slow progress on productivity. To avoid a bigger overspend the Department relied on a large raid on the capital budget and one-off accounting measures that are not repeatable. As the NAO says, while this approach may be understandable, it is unsustainable. The cupboard is now bare.
'2015/16 and 2016/17 were supposed to be the years of relative plenty, with front-loaded budget increases designed to put NHS finances back in order and kick-start the Five year forward view. Despite this, providers are heading for a £0.55bn overspend in 2016/17. And time is running out – from next year, the financial position of the NHS only gets worse. The NHS urgently needs a strategy to improve its efficiency and crucially, to ensure it has the workforce needed to deliver high quality patient care.'
020 7257 8047
0781 802 5507
You might also like...
This Ipsos MORI survey, conducted on behalf of the Health Foundation for the 2019 General Election, found people are willing ...
A survey conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Health Foundation indicates that there is increasing public support for pay...
Health Foundation analysis of parties’ NHS and social care funding pledges for the 2019 General Election.
Health Foundation @HealthFdn
People in the most deprived areas are dying earlier than those in the least deprived areas, which points to the imp… https://t.co/onDUYzypZuFollow us on Twitter
Work with us
We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.View current vacancies
The Q community
Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.Find out more