The road to recovery - Achieving financial balance and sustainability in healthcare providers
04 February 2019
The NHS is a source of great national pride -1.4 million patients treated every 24 hours, and one of the largest workforces in the world, made up of exceptional and dedicated staff, delivering better outcomes of care with a renewed focus on the patient themselves.
Despite this the NHS continues to experience financial difficulties. People living longer, with more chronic diseases, against a backdrop of economic and political uncertainty is generating enormous pressure on the system. Most recent figures from NHS Improvement show that the provider sector has a £1.23bn deficit at the end of Quarter 2, with 155 out of 230 providers in deficit at this point in time, and an underlying deficit of £4.3bn. Significant challenges remain and, whilst providers across the system continue to deliver quality healthcare, they are forecasting a £119m year-end overspend against a revised planned deficit of £439m.
The NHS Long Term Plan seeks to address these issues providing a blueprint for reorganisation and transformation that will make the service fit for the future. Critically the plan sets out a clear path to greater integration and cooperation across health and care systems and on developing a workforce strategy that will deal with the huge number of vacancies currently being experienced. This strategic, forward looking approach is enormously welcome - see David Morris’ previous blog on this important area. But for most providers there is still the issue of dealing with the day to day, managing the current financial pressures and trying to get themselves into a stronger financial position.
We are currently working with providers across the country to help them get onto a more sound financial footing. Drawing on that experience, we publish the new edition of Road to Recovery on 5 February to share our thoughts and guidance on what providers need to do to get themselves back on track. Not only does it shine a spotlight on what a provider can do within its own four walls, but how they can look across the system in their journey to sustainability.
Key components of the report are:
- The Recovery Curve – an outline of the process an organisation goes through in its journey back to sustainability.
- The “CFO mind map” – an exploration of different considerations and challenges relevant to leadership in navigating through financial difficulty.
- How to identify internal efficiency and productivity improvements.
- How to reap the benefits of an increased emphasis on system-working.
- Long term planning for sustainability, with a particular focus on technology.
Financial sustainability is a vital long term goal in the current climate. Understanding the causes of deficit and ensuring processes and systems are in place to deal with it are key to delivering turnaround and long term transformation and sustainability. We will go into more detail in future blogs but, in the meantime, we’d be delighted to hear your own personal lessons and learnings from dealing with financial recovery in the NHS. Please, do get in touch.