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Funds worth £800m 'taken from GP services' to offset hospital debt

Some £800m stored up by CCGs as contingency funds will be used in full to offset trust deficits, NHS England has said.

CCGs were asked at the beginning of 2016/17 not to spend 1% of their budget to avoid the overspend that occurred in the previous year.

At the time, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said this was money which 'would have been available from CCGs for mental health services, community health services, primary care and other things'.

But today an NHS England spokesperson said: ’As we’ve been saying since the start of the year, we set aside £800m to cover provider deficits if needed, and we do now need to.

'This is uncommitted money that would otherwise have been invested at the discretion of commissioners.

'It will be important to get the trust deficit down next year so planned investments can take place.’

BMA chair Dr Mark Porter said the move was ‘scandalous’ and amounting to ‘accounting tricks’.

He said: 'The NHS is clearly underfunded and services are unable to keep up with rising demand, but instead of addressing this the government has chosen more stopgaps and accounting tricks over providing good services for patients in desperate need.

'Taking funding from mental health, community and primary care to prop up deliberately created deficits will do nothing about the fact that most NHS trusts are in the red, our GPs are struggling to meet rising demand with inadequate resources, our hospitals don’t have enough beds and patients are waiting longer for essential care.'

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: 'Yet again, we are hearing that vital funding that should be used to provide much needed support for GPs and our teams on the frontline of patient care in the community – where the vast majority of NHS patient contacts are made - is being taken away and used to plug hospital deficits.

'It makes no sense to take funding away from GP services, and instead use it in a way that will only serve as a sticking-plaster solution to an ongoing problem. General practice is the bedrock of the health service – we provide the most cost-effective form of care and in doing so, we keep our patients out of hospitals, alleviating pressures right across the NHS.'

Readers' comments (4)

  • I suppose if I run a deficit they'll take my house rather than bail me out...

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  • Same old BS.How sad.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Remember what Simon said recently?
    ' I would regard myself as probably the most pro-primary care/GP national NHS figure there has been, possibly ever.’ Extraordinarily it sounds , he is acting as the real McCoy health secretary(Nobody believes anything Agent Hunt says anymore).
    As I said ,he shares a similar fate with Mark Carney in Bank of England ; he had to swallow his pride once again recently when his fully entrusted deputy governor was forced to resign as she failed to declare the fact her brother worked for Barclays. At least, he already has a plan to pack his bag for early exit.
    You wonder how these have reflected on the credibility and reputation of this government: the prime minister had to be reminded by the Scottish first minister the importance of being chosen and elected in a general election ; the Chancellor first found out he had broken the promises laid down in his party's election manifesto from Laura Kuebssberg from BBC. Not to mention about the record £70,000 fine on Tory Party by Electoral Commission for breaching the rules on election expenses(both Labour and Lib Dem were guilty to lesser degree in the past). You wonder if we are to have a new social norm for any election in this country from now on.
    And of course , the Exiting European Union secretary was very honest to say in public that he had no clue what would happen if no deal was agreed with EU for Brexit.
    Under normal circumstances, this ruling party should be well slaughtered politically by its opposition parties but we are not living in normal time indeed .The PM certainly 'enjoys' the 20 points lead in most media polls as the opposition(s) is so tame and pathetic.

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  • Just asking
    Many CCGs will themselves be in serious deficit at the end of the year: how will the "1% contingency fund" topsliced from CCG budgets be managed?
    Is it on an England wide basis? i.e. if your CCG is in a super efficient area with no deficit in any area, 1% is being removed to fund less "efficient" localities?
    Or on a local basis? i.e. if you are a CCG already in deficit, a further 1% will be added to your deficit?(what if this is inadequate for the Acute Trusts involved?)
    And will the services who should have received the services now not funded be not funded on a National or CCG level?

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