Public Accounts Committee

Sustainability and Transformation in the NHS inquiry

Inquiry status: open

The Public Accounts Committee will examine Sustainability and Transformation in the NHS on 5 March 2018.

Scope of the inquiry

The Public Accounts Committee has a long-standing interest in the financial sustainability of the NHS.

In 2016-17, the NHS in England received £1.8 billion Sustainability and Transformation Fund to help position it to weather lower funding growth from 2018 onwards. According to a report by the National Audit Office, the NHS’ overall financial position has improved: it has gone from a £1.838 million deficit in 2015–16 to a £111 million surplus in 2016–17.

However, the report found that the NHS is still struggling to manage demand within its budget. For example, to keep up with demand for services, the Department for Health and Social Care transferred £1.2 billion from capital projects to fund day-to-day activities. This is significant because the capital budget funds projects the NHS needs to transform and be sustainable in the long term.

The report also found that Clinical Commissioning Groups and trusts that manage NHS services locally are more reliant on one-off funding measures than before. This is also a risk to long-term sustainability.

The Committee will ask representative from the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement about how they will ensure to put the NHS on a sustainable financial footing in the future, whilst managing increasing demand.

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