NHS trust works on slowing down cash overspend

Solent NHS Trust has a �4.6m overspend
Solent NHS Trust has a �4.6m overspend
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A TRUST providing health services in Portsmouth has predicted it may end this financial year £15m in the red.

A combination of more patients, investing money and making savings, has left Solent NHS Trust with a £4.6m overspend to date. A trust report said this could escalate to £15m unless action is taken.

The trust has a budget of £177m and is now in talks with commissioners to see if more money could be given.

It said on average, in 2013-2014 nearly 9,500 visits were made each month – that figure is now around 10,500.

Michael Parr, director of finance and performance, said: ‘We’re being successful in bringing patients home early from hospital and stopping them from going in inappropriately, but this increases demand on funding and it hasn’t quite caught up with this yet.

‘We are in discussions with commissioners.’

Solent, which provides services such as mental health support, stop smoking, and sexual health help, said it is confident it will be able to reduce its overspend.

The trust is yet to achieve foundation trust status, which would give it a greater say in how it runs its services. One of the requirements a trust needs is to show it can make a financial surplus.

Mr Parr added: ‘Our trust board has agreed on plans that will see us return to financial sustainability.

‘Already, we have started to see reductions in our monthly spending since April. If we sustain that pattern, we will return to in-month financial balance by February, and end the year with a £5m overspend.

‘We remain committed to providing quality NHS health services and achieving FT status.’

Solent is paid by the Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group.

Chief finance officer Michelle Spandley said: ‘We do accept sometimes the demands and pressures on some services will change and may exceed initial expectations and the value of a particular contract.

‘We are working with Solent in a number of areas, and supporting its cost improvement plans and working closely to minimise impact on patients.

‘Solent’s ability to achieve FT status in part rests on their ability to deliver their financial plan. However the CCG remains fully supportive of them achieving it.’