The first quarter results for 2017 show the extent of the financial challenge facing the NHS at the moment and our finances. However our own financial position has deteriorated this year, compared with last, to a point that we face one of the biggest financial challenges in the NHS. We therefore welcome the additional support from NHS Improvement to help us to tackle our deficit and move towards a sustainable position for our services.
Work is already underway on our financial recovery plan and this week we have appointed external partners to work with us over the next ten weeks to identify where and how we can make some immediate savings and to set out plans for the future.
NHS Improvement will now appoint a director to support us to develop our plan and this will enhance the work already started with our external partners.
We know that there are many factors which are causing the deficit, which include a lot of our services being less efficient than they could be, staffing gaps that are routinely filled with more expensive temporary (agency) staff, and the challenges of providing services over a large geographical area. Our recovery plans will need to address these factors and more.
Patient safety remains our top priority and our intention is to ensure that this will be maintained or improved at the same time as reducing cost.
Financial special measures were introduced by NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSI) to help Trusts facing the biggest financial challenges (those facing significant and unsustainable deficits) to improve their financial performance. NHS Improvement will appoint a director who will work with the Trust to oversee the development of a robust financial recovery plan.