Cutting waiting lists and improving patient services casualties of growing £1.7bn NHS financial black hole

News Talk

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Unless the chancellor makes additional funding available in the upcoming Autumn Statement, efforts to cut waiting times and make improvements to NHS services will be the casualty of the drive to plug a £1.7bn financial black hole in the NHS budget this year (2023/24).  New analysis from the Nuffield Trust think tank warns that despite an additional £450m of additional funding being made available to the NHS earlier this month, the current financial situation within the NHS is precarious with patients likely to feel the impact, with slower progress than hoped for on tackling waiting lists and initiatives to improve care quality and access stalled. The Nuffield Trust also warns that the situation could rapidly deteriorate further if more junior doctor and consultant strikes are called before the end of the financial year.  The NHS has since been forced to scale back its spending on efforts to clear record waits by reducing its target for planned care from the waiting list from 105% to 103% of pre pandemic activity levels and directing stretched financial resources towards protecting urgent and emergency care over winter. The loosening of this target is intended to encourage NHS organisations to cut back on funding extra...