A period of unprecedented pressure on the NHS has resulted in 75 per cent of the country’s hospital foundation trusts reporting significant financial deficits for the year 2014/15, including Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust (NLaG), which forecasts an underlying deficit of £18million as a result of the wider Northern Lincolnshire system financial position. An application is now being made for a one-off loan from the Department of Health to assist in closing this gap during 2015/16 and to help the healthcare community make the necessary changes to achieve a sustainable future.
Director of finance at the Trust Marcus Hassell said: “The local NHS position mirrors the national NHS position, with an entire system under stress as a result of increased demand that is outstripping available funding.
“This issue is replicated across the country as hospitals bear the burden of coping with immense strain.”
Chief executive of NLaG, Karen Jackson, said: “We have the full support of our healthcare partners in our local system to access Department of Health funding since this is an issue that is accepted as belonging to the whole health community. Monitor is very clear that this is purely about finances, as they remain satisfied with our performance in terms of leadership and care quality.
“Our hospitals like most others across the country have faced enormous challenges recently, resulting in a deficit position at the end of the financial year. There are a number of causes for this, chiefly the payments we receive not covering the actual cost of the services provided.”
As part of regulatory measures agreed with Monitor, the Trust will now deliver a short-term cost improvement plan. Monitor has acknowledged that the Trust cannot fix all of these financial problems on its own and needs support from the local commissioners, local authorities and patient groups to design a more sustainable way to deliver high quality care to its patients – work which is already underway with the Healthy Lives, Healthy Futures review of healthcare services.
Chief clinical officer at North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group Dr Peter Melton said: “The CCG will work with the Trust to help ensure this emergency funding from the Department of Health is used effectively to develop affordable high quality services as quickly as possible.
“We will work together as a health community to rectify the financial imbalance across the system in 2015/16, for which we all have a responsibility.”
Allison Cooke, chief officer at North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The Healthy Lives, Healthy Futures review is ultimately our long-term local solution to this problem, and we look forward to presenting our proposals for public consultation later this year.”
Chief officer of East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group Jane Hawkard said: “We remain committed to our vision as a CCG to ensure that Goole and District Hospital offers clinically safe, sustainable and affordable services well into the future.”