Hospitals hit with limits on spending

Hospitals have been hit with tough targets to balance their books or miss out on millions of pounds of bailout funding.

Thursday, 28th July 2016, 4:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th July 2016, 5:54 pm

Spending limits are being imposed to bring down a huge deficit among NHS trusts which has reached £2.45bn - the biggest in the history of the health service.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals, which runs Pontefract, Pinderfields and Dewsbury hospitals, must make £26m in budget savings between now and the end of the financial year.

New funding of £16.7m was agreed by the government for Mid Yorkshire - but the trust must end 2015-16 with a surplus of £4.2m or it will not get all the extra cash.

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Cash problems facing hospitals include huge overspends on agency staff because of problems recruiting enough permanent workers.

Mid Yorkshire must slash £8m from its agency bill this year.

A report to the last trust board meeting said all departments were already struggling to make all the budget cuts in May.

The trust was £2.3m behind with its savings target that month.

Jane Hazelgrave, Mid Yorkshire’s finance director said: “The trust has been offered £16.7m sustainability and transformation funding to deliver a surplus of £4.2m in 2016-17.

“This offer requires the trust to make £26m of efficiency savings, which represents a significant challenge to the trust.

“The trust has been selected to take part in a national financial improvement programme to support the trust to deliver efficiency savings.

“The trust board recognise the challenge and this was set out in the recent public board paper.

“Any surplus generated will be used to support the trust capital investment programme.”

The extra money for Mid Yorkshire will come from the £1.8bn Sustainability and Transformation Fund (STF).

Access to the money is dependent on reaching an agreed financial position at the end of the year, and meeting other targets on waiting lists and A&E performance.

The government said individual trusts had negotiated their own financial targets.

A spokesman for NHS Improvement, which overseas NHS trusts, said: “The NHS faces significant financial challenges across the country at the same time as improving services for patients, ensuring they are fit to meet the demands of the future.”

Five NHS trusts - Barts , Croydon Health Services, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals and North Bristol NHS Trust - have already been declared as being in “special financial measures” by the government.