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Hospitals’ huge deficit blamed on 999 demand
A HOSPITAL trust’s deficit has grown to £3.7 million just five months into the financial year.
The deficit has been blamed on growing emergency demand at Worcestershire hospitals which is 14.5 per cent up on the same time last year.
Figures show there were 2,450 more patients in the first five months of 2012/13 than the first five months of the previous financial year (April to August). Finance director Chris Tidman said at a meeting of the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust board: “The increase in emergency demand is a cause for concern. I think we’re doing the right thing in terms of the financial recovery plan. The plan aims to return the trust to a break even position. The real issue is how we work with our partners to reduce the pressure on our services.”
The trust is also being penalised for the high number of emergency patients in beds as part of a scheme to ensure people are cared for in the community instead of hospital. For every patient treated over the threshold, NHS Worcestershire, which holds the purse strings, keeps back 70 per cent of the tariff to invest in admission avoidance schemes. So far, the lower tariff has resulted in a rebate of £2.3 million which is projected to rise to £5.5 million by the end of the financial year.
The trust had planned to secure a £1.5 million surplus at the end of the year but achieving this now depends on securing a reasonable funding settlement to help them manage the increase in hospital admissions.
Figures show the trust was behind on its savings plan of £12.6 million for the year and financial chiefs were forecasting savings of £9.6 million by the end of the year, £2.4 million shy of the target. But further savings schemes, including bed closures, have reduced this to £1.8 million.