Greater Lincolnshire

£69m deficit already for Lincolnshire hospital trusts

Greater Lincolnshire’s two main hospital trusts have ran deficits of nearly £69 million for the first six months of the year alone.

Both United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Foundation Trust, who are both in financial special measures, are over their planned targets for the end of the year.

A total deficit of £68.91 million has been racked up by both hospital trusts since April 2018.

But health bosses have insisted that savings will be made and blamed staffing and maintenance costs for the overspends.

ULHT has ran up a deficit of £43.5 million from the first half of the financial year.

That’s £7.5m over the trust’s plan and officials now forecasting an overspend of £82.2 million for the end of the year.

It comes as ULHT asked NHS Improvement to revise its deficit target back in April.

Health bosses said higher than planned spending on temporary staff and delays in the sale of assets contributed to the overspend.

ULHT director of finance, Karen Brown, said the trust has a plan to make savings.

She said: “We are working tirelessly to balance the need to save money whilst also improving the quality of care we provide across the whole trust and have a full programme of savings plans which are beginning to deliver improvements.

“We must ensure the focus is on quality improvements that also save money, an example of this can already be seen in our outpatients departments, where we’re seeing more patients quicker than ever before.  This means we’re more efficient and productive.

“Our current orthopaedic surgery trial is also helping to improve the experience of our patients, leading to less cancelled operations, reducing length of hospital stay and allowing them access to surgery sooner.

“We are also focussing on the quality of our clinical coding, which means we’re making sure we record exactly what activity we’re doing correctly, so we can invoice more accurately.  This alone will generate an extra £2.6 million of additional income.”

Meanwhile, the trust which runs Scunthorpe and Grimsby hospitals ran a deficit of £26.31 million.

Scunthorpe General Hospital. Picture: Colin Babb.

It means Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Trust was £3.91 million over its own six month target of £22.4 million.

The trust said increased pressure on staffing and maintenance costs led to the increase.

NLaG added that it now forecasts a £43.5 million overspend by the end of the year, meaning the trust would be £12 million over its plan.

Marcus Hassall, director of finance at the trust, said the trust still expects to make £15 million worth of savings.

“We have seen heavy demand for the trust’s emergency services, and we have significantly increased elective and day case numbers to meet demand. This has created operational pressures for our teams, but has meant more income,” he said.

“In terms of our expenditure we still have significant work to do to bring down the costs of temporary clinical staffing, but we have more doctors now in post, and 74 newly qualified nurses starting with us this Autumn which should help reduce the premium we pay for locum and agency staff.

“We have also seen significant pressures arising from building maintenance, a consequence of the age and condition of some of our buildings.”

He added that the trust will continue to work with NHS Improvement in order to meet its financial plan.

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