Health consultancy Tribal estimates that hospitals will have a deficit of £7.5bn by 2015 – as a best-case scenario – in its report Intensive Care for Acute Hospitals.
The 2010/11 NHS Operating Framework announced changes to the tariff for hospitals and this, combined with the ‘brittle' economics of hospitals, increases their vulnerability, according to Tribal.
Kingsley Manning, author of the report, said: ‘The rise in activity and revenues for hospitals over the last decade has obscured a failure to improve productivity.
‘The recently announced changes to NHS prices combined with the rapid slow-down in the growth in NHS funding will inevitably result in significant financial pressures for many hospitals. ‘However, the opportunities for improving productivity – for making savings without sacrificing clinical or service quality – are considerable, if clinicians and managers are prepared to take the necessary actions.'