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CCGs set to inherit multi-million pound debts from PCTs next year

Exclusive: CCG leaders are likely to be saddled with multi-million pound deficits from April next year, despite previous Government assurances they would not inherit legacy debts.

Managers in at least five areas across England are predicting they will begin the new financial year with a deficit.

It comes as the NHS Commissioning Board revealed it is looking again at the issue of CCG debt. It is due to make an announcement in early December to clarify what will happen to any deficits or surpluses left over by PCTs.

Even earlier this year ministers were continuing to insist debts would not be passed on to CCGs – a key demand of Pulse’s ‘A Clean Slate’ campaign.

Then-health secretary Andrew Lansley told CCG leaders at the Commissioning Show in July: ‘We are still intending for CCGs to start in April 2013 with no legacy debts.’

However, a Pulse investigation reveals that CCG leaders in many areas are likely to have large holes in their finances from April 2013.

A financial report from Croydon CCG forecasts a ‘best case’ scenario of a £5m deficit by the end of the financial year, and a ‘worst case’ of a £12.6m deficit if it does not get financial support.

NHS Hillingdon has had to borrow £15m from a neighbouring PCT to cover its deficit, which will have to be repaid by Hillingdon CCG over a three-year period.

Board papers show NHS Peterborough is predicting £6.4 million of the PCT’s historic debt will remain in 2013/14 and NHS Enfield is forecasting a £5.3 million deficit.

And September board minutes for NHS North of England SHA cluster confirm that, as reported earlier this year, NHS North Yorkshire and York is anticipating a £19m deficit.

Meanwhile Stafford and Surrounds CCG said it is still forecasting a balanced position at the year end but it has overspent by £885k by the fifth month and achieving a balanced position will depend on ‘delivering a series of mitigating actions to offset the current known risks’.

Dr Michael Dixon, interim president of NHS Clinical Commissioners, said it was crucial CCGs were given a ‘fighting chance’ by being free from historic debt in April 2013.

He said: ‘There is no reason for CCGs to pay for the sins of their fathers.’

Dr Huw Charles-Jones, chair of West Cheshire CCG, said CCGs with inherited debt would ‘struggle’, but added that the whole local health economy would have implications on CCGs’ commissioning decisions.

He said: ‘If your major provider has difficulties, it will make it harder.’

CCGS IN THE RED (21/11 map)

Readers' comments (11)

  • This focuses the attention on accurate SUS data validation. The Audit Commission "Right Data, Right Payment" report states that there is a 7.5% error rate which based on secondary care expenditure represents £2.25 billion errors annually or £267,000 for every practice in England.
    Identifying these errors can partially be identified by AIV and SLAM systems but more accurate software is required such as iQV if this problem is to be brought under control.

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  • Vinci Ho

    No reason for the CCGs to pay for the sins of their fathers?
    Remember the classic scene when Darth Vader told Luke Skywalker that he was his father!!

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  • SUS errors might add up to £2.25 billion but the net effect is £0 as there are as many errors in favour of commissioners as providers. Spending money on expensive systems will increase costs for providers and commissioners but not contribute to any improvements in healthcare.

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  • I don't think they are talking about the error causing deficit in the article - I think they are a real term deficit which the PCT has not managed to balance transferring to the CCGs.

    I assume they will try and make each GP personally accountable for the debts by linking this to the practice payments. At which point I think I'll hand in my notice and leave my partnership - all these work is not worth the while continuing for whilst incurring debts made by managers of previous body.

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  • CCGs set to inherit multi-million pound debts from PCTs next year

    can't believe anyone was naive enough to think this wouldn't happen

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  • Exactly. It was said on day 1 that CCG's would be liable for debts post 1/4/12 as a way of getting engagement and support for CCG's in advance of them taking over.

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  • Are Barnet and Haringey PCTs now forecasting balance, or should they be added to the map graphic too?

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  • Surely this must be the time to disengage from this huge political con-trick. What on earth are the motives for clinicians to stay in the process which will devastate both patients and their practices?

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  • Hardly worth trying at all when dealing with these silly figures. QIPP is a futile aspiration. We will get nothing but grief over it so why bother. I'm not going to sweat over it. What can they do?

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  • The NHS overall is in surplus and has given money back to the Treasury this year. See this:

    So why is debt being pushed on to CCGs? Why are our hospitals being shut down on the grounds of indebtedness if there's so much money washing around the NHS that they can afford to pay McKinsey £3million for a report to explain that a hospital is bust: , and to give the Treasury £2.1 billion?

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