NAO warns NHS at risk from financial pressures

The government’s spending watchdog has warned NHS trusts are at risk because of financial pressures.

A new report from the National Audit Office has warned that a quarter of NHS and foundation trusts in financial deficit at the end of the financial year. Margaret Hodge, Chair of the Public Accounts Select Committee, has labelled the report “deeply alarming” and suggested its contents show the sustainability of the NHS to be at risk.

The report will reignite debate on the future funding of the health service, weeks after NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens claimed the NHS would need an additional £8 billion a year to remain viable, with the NAO’s own estimate of trusts being £9 billion in deficit by 2020 appearing to exemplify the stark situation facing the health service. The National Audit Office additionally found that the Department of Health has issued £1.8 billion in cash injections to 46 NHS organisations since 2006-2007.