latest health care news

07.02.18

Special measures trust set to miss financial targets by £21m

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has admitted to a £21m increase in its forecasted deficit this year.

The trust was placed in special measures in October 2016, but has failed to achieve a targeted £36m deficit, instead expected to fall to around £57m.

The deficit is now a major proportion of the East Sussex’s total income, making up more than 14% of the £383m projected to be brought in by the trust.

Issues arose in December when income posted was down by nearly £1m, while costs rose somewhat, finance director Jonathan Reid reported.

Reid told the trust’s board of “significant creditor pressure” created by issues with cashflow, with receivables and payables remaining higher than expected.

He called the initial plan for 2017/18 “ambitious” and said officials had reported the poor forecast to NHS Improvement, although failure to meet the control total means the trust is now ineligible for Sustainability and Transformation Funding (STF) from the central body.

“The final quarter of 2017/18 will be an important three months for the organisation, and for the local health economy,” Reid explained. “The planned improvements to the 2017/18 position must be delivered – and this will be tracked by the finance and investment committee – and a robust plan for 2018/19 must be finalised and agreed by the board.”

He went on to tell members that clinical stability was also dependent on the financial plans which would be put in place, saying that colleagues needed to have “robust cost improvement plans” to allow improved sustainability.

In addition to general costs and pressures on the trust, Reid reported a spend of nearly £10m on financial disputes with commissioners, which have recently been mediated by both NHS Improvement and NHS England.

In 2015, East Sussex Healthcare received heavy criticism from the CQC for a bullying culture which had developed within the organisation.

The regulator put the trust in special measures, citing a disconnect between leaders and frontline staff and a “culture of fear” which spread throughout services – although it has since improved its overall rating.

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