Hospital Trusts in the 14 most underfunded NHS areas have staved off about half of the £470m cuts that NHS Improvement and NHS England ordered them to make, through the new Capped Expenditure Programme that was imposed in April this year.
The £470m is the funding shortfall this financial year in the 14 areas, compared to the financial control totals imposed on the 14 areas.
NHS Improvement and NHS England wrote to the areas that they had been “living off bailouts from other parts of the country” and would now need to take “difficult choices” to stay within the financial limits for their area.
After Hospital Trusts across the areas made it plain that they could not make more than £250m cuts – and even then there is a significant risk that they can’t do that – NHS Improvement and NHS England have backed down from demanding the £470m cuts and have accepted the £250m cuts.
The Health Services Journal reported that NHS Improvement chief executive Jim Mackey wrote to Trusts that the Capped Expenditure Process cuts should safeguard patient safety and quality and be consistent with the 18 week referral to treatment standard and patient choice. These were not requirements for the £470m proposed cuts.
Also, his letter told Trusts that
“where CEP service reconfiguration proposals trigger the NHS’ public consultation duties, these will need to be followed. In addition, providers should also ensure that patients and staff are engaged throughout the planning and implementation stages of CEP.”
So £250m imposed extra cuts are still crap but not quite as crap as £470m. Maybe the Trusts should protest and refuse top down cuts more often.