Lincolnshire hospital trust's deficit will be £55 million by end of the financial year

The trust which manages Grantham, Lincoln and Boston hospitals says it will have a deficit of £55 million by the end of the financial year.

Jan Sobieraj, new chief executive of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust EMN-150917-103307001

The figure is £15 million more than the figure of £40.3 million forecast by the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT).

The main reasons for the deficit are the premium costs of using agency staff and the opening of escalation beds which are not funded. The deficit was pushed up higher with the loss of elective surgery over the winter because of the extra pressure put on the service.

At today’s meeting of the ULHT board at Grantham Hospital, Director of Nursing Michelle Rhodes said it cost the trust an extra £300,000 a month to employ 100 agency nurses instead of 100 substantive nurses.

The trust has been on a recruitment drive and recently took on 100 nurses from the Philippines who are due to start work in October. The trust will return to the Philippines later this year in a bid to recruit another 100 nurses.

But Mrs Rhodes told the board that despite these efforts to recruit more nurses the trust will still have 200 vancanies.

ULHT chief executive Jan Sobieraj said: “We’re committed to delivering safe, high quality, affordable services. Along with most other acute trusts in England, ULHT is forecasting a large deficit at the end of the financial year.

“The main reason for this is due to spending on agency nurses and doctors and the additional beds needed for the high number of patients who are medically fit for discharge.

“We have many actions and plans in place to save money and boost our income, and we are working with the wider NHS to make sure we do this.

“A significant way we can reduce our deficit over the next few years is to directly employ more doctors and nurses, be more creative with how we use other clinical staff such as pharmacists and therapists, and change how we provide services”.