Trusts across England will miss 2011/12 savings targets set out under the £20bn NHS efficiency drive, PCT board papers reveal.
GP leaders said this may force commissioners to play 'catch up' by cutting services even deeper. They accused the DH of breaking a pledge that clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) would be free from PCT deficits. The NHS Alliance warned that CCGs 'demotivated' by a lack of PCT co-operation may bring in private contractors to oversee cuts.
The NHS in England needs to save £20bn by 2014/15 under the Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) programme. PCT board papers show the scale of this challenge.
NHS Sussex cluster forecasts QIPP savings of £72.8m this year - just 65% of the £111.8m it was told to save. Papers from a board meeting on 24 January admit 'significant financial implications' for CCGs.
NHS North Essex cluster said it will only save £40.1m of its £57.3m target for this year. NHS Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth all reported that 'QIPP delivery remains a concern'. NHS Middlesbrough said it was 'some way off' achieving its QIPP targets. Many similar examples exist across England.
There's a mismatch between the DH commitment that CCGs shouldn't inherit PCT debts, and the reality that CCGs will be directly affected by budgets and QIPP that they take on - GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul.
CCGs in areas where QIPP plans are not met will see 'far greater financial pressures', Dr Nagpaul added.
NHS Alliance vice-chairman Dr Donal Hynes said CCGs handed deficits would become 'disillusioned'. Many PCTs had already made the easy cuts, leaving CCGs in a position 'a hundred times more difficult'.
A DH spokeswoman said CCGs would not inherit PCT debt that arose before 2011/12 and that PCTs would aim to be debt free at the end of 2012/13.
- GP magazine is a media partner for Commissioning 2012, an event in London on 27-28 June featuring over 700 GPs and primary care managers. Speakers are expected to include health secretary Andrew Lansley and NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson.