THE TRUST which runs the county’s hospitals has been reported to the Health Secretary because of its poor finances.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has been referred by the Audit Commission because it failed to break even last year and auditors were not convinced plans in place to address the issue would be enough.
The Trust was one of 20 referred by the commission and will now face closer scrutiny from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. In 2012/13 just five were referred.
Marcine Waterman, controller of audit, said: “This level of reporting is worrying and reflects the increasing risks to the financial sustainability of individual NHS Trusts as they continue to face sizeable financial pressures due to a rising demand
for services and the necessary focus on quality of care, whilst balancing the need for continued cost savings.”
Last year the Trust posted a deficit of £14.2million after the loss of a contract dispute with commissioners. This year it is forecasting a deficit of £9.8million but is already £600,000 behind plan. It is also negotiating a £26.5million loan to ensure the
Trust can continue to pay its bills.
However the Trust says it aims to produce a small surplus by the end of 2016/17 as a new funding deal with commissioners over the level of payment for emergency work and additional money for teaching is phased
The reconfiguration of hospital services, in particular the centralisation of maternity and paediatrics, will also improve the
Trust’s financial position.
Chris Tidman, deputy chief executive, said: “The Trust has established a clinically led recovery plan to return back to financial balance.”