Magazine article Public Finance

NHS Bodies Struggling to Meet 'Severe' Deadlines

Magazine article Public Finance

NHS Bodies Struggling to Meet 'Severe' Deadlines

Article excerpt

NHS organisations are struggling to draw up plans for finance, contracted activity and the future shape of community services to meet severe deadlines imposed by the Department of Health.

The warning from health service leaders comes as the British Medical Association sounded the alarm over 'record' cuts and closures in London.

Chris Calkin, spokesman for the Healthcare Financial Management Association, told Public Finance that die tight timetable for drawing up plans and die contracts between trusts and primary care trusts was a *big concern'.

The JVHS Operating Framework, published last month, says contracts must be agreed by March 1. But strategic heakh authorities - under pressure to provide financial plans to die DoH by January 29 - are seeking information from trusts urgently.

PCTs and trusts are hampered by die delay to die final NHS treatments tariff, which is not expected to be published before mid-February.

Calkin, who is also finance director at University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, said: 'We've got to get a plan in by Monday and without agreed contract levels for the next year and without the financial tariff, these plans are at best indicative.'

David Stout, director of the Primary Care Trust Network, warned that, for some PCTs, the deadline for agreeing the future shape of community services would be 'impossible' to meet. 'It won't be only a handful of PCTs [who miss the deadline],' he told PF.

PCTs face uncertainty over provision of their community services, amid mixed signals from ministers over how the NHS's status as 'preferred provider' fits with its policy towards the private sector. …

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