The English Medical Trust has reported the worst ever NHS shortfall, predicting they will end the year £2.2 billion in deficit.
Words: Megan Townsend, Subeditor: Daisy Greenaway
The NHS deficit in England has soared to £1.6 billion in just half a year according to the latest report from the English Medical Trust.
The overspending is believed to have been due to hiring agency staff in the summer due to lack of interest in working in hospitals, rising demand from patients and large numbers of patients who could not be discharged from hospital due to lack of social care.
This is £358 million worse than had previously been expected. Demand for staff has become a massive issue within the NHS, difficulty recruiting enough staff has meant £900 million more than originally expected has been spent on agency staff.
Many of the hospitals that had previously had surpluses were now in the red, with 156 hospitals out of 239 recording overspending.
The data revealed:
- The NHS spends £1.8 billion on agency and contract staff, double what had originally been anticipated
- There has been an overall deficit of £1.6 billion at the start of 2015/16 – £357 million higher than planned
- Delayed discharges due to inadequate social care has cost a whopping £270 million in the first six months of the financial year
The report comes at a difficult time for health minister Jeremy Hunt, as thousands of doctors are gearing up to strike in December over changes to junior doctor contracts, he failed to show up for MP’s questions this morning in order to address the issue.
Hunt will be presenting the new NHS financial plans during George Osborne’s spending review next week.