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NHS will ‘struggle’ to meet £20bn savings

18 September 2013

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The NHS will ‘struggle’ to meet the £20 billion in productivity savings requested by the government, a report has revealed. 

The Quarterly Monitoring Report released by healthcare think tank The King’s Fund today shows the majority of NHS finance directors do not believe the target will be met (56%), and a third rated their chances as “50/50”. 

However, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) were more confident, with 72% of CCG finance leads expecting to meet their organisation’s target.

In fact, finance directors from CCGs and trusts (72%) appear to be pessimistic about the prospects for their local health economy over the next year. 

But the vast majority do expect to break even in 2013/14, with just 11% expecting to be in deficit. 

King’s Fund chief economist Professor John Appleby said: “Now just over half way through the so-called Nicholson Challenge, it is clear the NHS will struggle to meet its £20 billion productivity target, with potentially serious consequences for patient care. 

“The reality for many hospitals is that they face an uncomfortable choice between whether to prioritise the quality of services for patients or allow performance in some areas to slip in order to balance the books.”