Rob Whiteman, CIPFA Chief Executive, said:
“It’s no surprise that special measures are being introduced when NHS finances are under such pressure. For the five NHS providers affected, this can be an opportunity to access support from NHS Improvement that will boost financial resilience.
“New measurement and special measures regimes for clinical commissioning groups offer greater cohesion between NHS commissioners and providers. However, it’s vital that new systems are clear, uncomplicated and flexible enough to account for local challenges.
“The package of interventions appears to strike a balance between helpful assistance and second-guessing professional judgement. Investment in deficit reduction is welcome, as is replacing the fines mechanism that added burdens but arguably achieved no measurable improvements to service delivery.
“Moving to a two-year planning cycle is a positive step towards better stability. But the high cost of temporary management staff bears testament to broader systemic failings that continue to undermine good finances and must be addressed.
“Above all, these measures must be a positive driver for change and not a witch-hunt. Regulators must give local leaders the tools to drive real service transformation. Ultimately, NHS finances will continue to flounder while we persist in spending so much less on healthcare than other developed nations as a proportion of GDP.”