In 2015–16, the Department of Health (the Department) allocated £100.9 billion to NHS England to plan and pay for NHS services. The greatest share of this budget was spent by 209 clinical commissioning groups which largely bought health care from 86 NHS trusts and 152 NHS foundation trusts. The Department is accountable to Parliament for ensuring that all spending by the Department, NHS England, NHS Improvement, other arm’s-length bodies and by local NHS bodies is contained within the overall budget authorised by Parliament. The Department has made NHS England and NHS Improvement responsible for ensuring the NHS balances its budget. A significant number of trusts are in serious and persistent financial distress and many are struggling to make efficiencies and improve their financial position. In November 2015, the Government committed to increasing funding for the NHS by £8.4 billion by 2020. Included in this was £2.14 billion for the Sustainability and Transformation Fund in 2016–17, of which £1.8 billion will be used to help trusts sustain services and reduce deficits in 2016–17. In December 2015, health and care leaders were asked to come together to develop five-year sustainability and transformation plans for the future of health and care services in their area.
23 February 2017