#NHS facing £2bn deficit and ‘worst financial crisis in a generation’

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NHS facing £2bn deficit and ‘worst financial crisis in a generation’

Hospitals have overspent by nearly £1bn in three months due in part to soaring bill for agency and other temporary staff, according to regulators.

A nurse tends to patients on a general ward at the Queen Elizabeth hospital, Birmingham
A nurse tends to patients at the Queen Elizabeth hospital, Birmingham. Monitor’s report says: ‘The current level of deficit is not affordable.’ Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The NHS overspent by £930m in three months this year and is on course for an annual deficit of at least £2bn, in what regulators described as its worst financial crisis in a generation.

Hospitals are spending more than their budgets as they struggle to cope with what one NHS leader called a “triple whammy” of growing demand for care, £2bn of unexpected staff costs and the service’s finances being the tightest for years.

The NHS is missing many waiting time targets, medical services regulators revealed on Friday. The increasing difficulty of recruiting and retaining enough personnel to staff every ward has led to a soaring bill for agency and other temporary employees.

Separate reports published on Friday from the two bodies that oversee foundation trust (FTs) and non-foundation trust hospitals in England reveal a massive recent deterioration in the NHS’s finances.

The 151 FTs regulated by Monitor recorded a collective deficit of £445m between the start of April and the end of June this year, and expect to end 2015-16 as a whole £1bn in the red.

Read more here

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