Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hospitals Trust Ordered to Tackle PS17m Deficit

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hospitals Trust Ordered to Tackle PS17m Deficit

Article excerpt

Byline: Sara Nichol Reporter sara.nichol@ncjmedia.co.uk

HOSPITAL chiefs have been told to drastically improve their finances after an investigation found it had breached its licence to provide health services.

City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust will have to draw up and deliver a financial recovery plan to reduce a deficit of PS17.8m following a probe by regulator Monitor.

The investigation found that there were "reasonable grounds" to suspect the trust has breached its licence to provide NHS-funded healthcare.

Paul Chandler, regional director at Monitor, said: "This trust provides crucial healthcare services to the population of Sunderland, as well as some more specialist services to a wider patient population and it is vital that the trust resolves its financial problems so that it can continue to provide those services on a sustainable basis.

"We expect the trust to develop a credible financial recovery plan and then make sure that plan is delivered."

The trust - which runs Sunderland Royal Hospital and Sunderland Eye Infirmary, amongst other services - is forecasting a financial deficit of PS17.8m by the end of 2015/16, even after having already identified savings of PS13m.

The trust must now compile and deliver a financial recovery plan to reduce its deficit, as well as draw up a longer term strategic plan to allow it to provide services on a sustainable basis.

Monitor also added a further condition to the trust's licence that requires an improvement in the performance of its board in dealing with the issues the trust faces.

This will enable the health regulator to take further regulatory action in future if necessary, which could mean it can remove board members and appoint its own.

City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Ken Bremner said: "The Care Quality Commission rated the quality of our services as 'good' earlier this year and that would not have been achieved without the commitment and dedication of our staff.

"We do need however for our finances to once again return to 'good' as soon as possible. …

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