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18 CCGs forecasting year-end deficit

Almost 10% of CCGs are predicting that they will end the financial year in deficit, NHS England’s chief financial officer has said.

Speaking before the Health Select Committee today, Paul Baumann explained that 18 CCGs were predicting a cumulative deficit, and that a further 15% (around 30 CCGs) were going to miss NHS England’s target of a surplus greater than 1%.

The figure is similar to the end of the last financial year, when 19 CCGs ended in deficit. However, Mr Baumann added that the struggling CCGs were not all the same as the previous year.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens added that despite deficits in CCGs and providers, NHS England as a whole was predicting to end the year in ‘a balanced position’.

Mr Baumann told the committee: ‘There are 211 CCGs, at this point in the year, the forecast is that 18 of them will be in cumulative deficit. That’s a similar number, a slightly different composition but a similar number, to the number predicting a deficit in 13/14.

‘That’s about another 15%, another 30, who are between 0% and 1% in surplus, and then the rest of the 211 are in line with our financial strategy to have at least a 1% surplus going forward.’

Last year, NHS England changed the funding formula for CCGs, linking allocations to population size, age and deprivation, which favoured CCGs in the south of England.

It meant that only 7 of the 68 CCGs in NHS England’s Northern region had an above inflation increase this year, compared with 21 of the 32 London CCGs, 23 out of 61 CCGs in the Midlands, and 25 out of 50 in the South.

The funding measures were brought in to address deficits in areas with rapidly growing or aging populations, while roughly 10% of the funding is allocated based on an area’s deprivation.