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One-third of CCGs concerned about achieving financial balance

A third of CCG finance leads are worried about achieving financial balance in 2015/16 according to the latest King’s Fund quarterly monitoring report, at a time when they are looking to take over responsibility for the GP contract

The report, published today, was based on 51 responses from CCGs. Seven said that they were ‘fairly concerned’ about balancing their books while nine said that they were ‘very concerned’.

Around 30% of CCGs also said they were ‘very concerned’ about achieving their quality, innovation, productivity and prevention (QIPP) targets.

This comes as CCGs are looking to take over commissioning reponsibilities for the GP contract, with Pulse reporting that around 40% of CCGs want to take on full responsibility for commissioning primary care.

The funding squeeze on CCGs has already affected GPs, with NHS Bedfordshire CCG – which has the biggest deficit in England – withholding payments earned by practices in order to pay off part of its debt.

The King’s Fund report, ‘How is the NHS performing?’ also highlighted a number of disturbing trends, including the fact that waiting times for cancer treatment continued to worsen in the second quarter of 2014.

Only 83.5% of patients received treatment within 62 days of urgent referral from their GP – the lowest proportion since the current target was introduced.

Commenting on the report, King’s Fund chief economist John Appleby, said that the situation was now ‘critical’.

He said: ‘While recent attention has focused on the problems faced by A&E units, performance against waiting time targets and other indicators has continued worsen. Taken together, the findings from this quarter’s report show that services are stretched to the limit.’