Magazine article Public Finance

Foundations' Future 'Relies on Shaky Forecasts'

Magazine article Public Finance

Foundations' Future 'Relies on Shaky Forecasts'

Article excerpt

NHS foundation trusts have made good progress but their future success relies heavily on assumptions that will be difficult to realise, regulator Monitor said this week.

Monitor has reviewed foundations' first set of annual plans and praised their efforts in establishing 'well-run, autonomous organisations delivering high standards of patient care'.

The non-financial performance of most of the 31 trusts Monitor examined (there are now 32) was excellent. However, some trust boards told the regulator that targets for areas such as cancer treatment waiting times and dealing with the MRSA superbug would be particularly challenging.

Monitor added that foundations' financial management was improving - the trusts forecast an aggregate surplus of £6m this year, compared with a deficit of £37m in 2004/05. However, this forecast relied on attracting more patients and cutting costs by £98m.

Monitor said the increase in patient activity was higher than that forecast by primary care trusts and it was concerned that PCTs might not be able to pay for it. The cost-cutting target was about 35% higher than when the trusts applied to become foundations, and some savings remained unidentified. …

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