• Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital Trust in arbitration with CCGs
  • Dispute thought to concern £20m invoice challenge from commissioners for 2017-18
  • Findings from review of trust’s financial governance expected soon

A teaching hospital and its local commissioners are in formal arbitration as the end of the financial year approaches.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust is in formal arbitration with Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest clinical commissioning groups after rejecting the result of local mediation. In November the trust said it expected a challenge from commissioners over £20m.

A spokesman for the trust would not confirm the sum being disputed.

The £500m turnover hospital trust in east London had a deficit of £49.6m at the end of month 10 of 2017-18. A spokesman said the trust could not predict a year-end position because of the dispute.

HSJ is awaiting confirmation of how much the arbitration concerns.

The CCGs said in January that the national dispute resolution process had been triggered after the trust refused to accept the outcome report produced by a local mediation that began in October.

If arbitration disputes cannot be resolved informally, NHS England appoints an independent panel to make a ruling.

NHS England would not confirm how many arbitration cases it had received for 2017-18.

In November, HSJ reported the findings from arbitration between Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust and NHS England, which NHS England lost. NHS England tried to keep the result secret but accidentally emailed it out.

BHRUT’s income comes mostly from CCGs with £391m paid in 2016-17. The trust is in financial special measures and a report to the board this week said a financial governance review by Grant Thornton was awaiting sign off.

The trust was accused of making late payments to suppliers last year, with reports that some were refusing to do business with the trust until bills were settled.

The trust’s most recent finance report said: “The cash position is still very challenging, and [we are] managing supplier payments very carefully to ensure there is no impact on patient services.”

It added that the trust has received three unplanned emergency working capital loans totalling £39m this financial year.

The trust is expecting a Care Quality Commission report this month following an inspection in January.

 

This story was updated at 12.37pm to clarify that the sum under arbitration was not £50m as earlier stated, £50m was the trust’s deficit position at month 10. The sum being arbitrated over is awaited.

Teaching trust and CCGs in formal arbitration