FINANCE: NHS Dudley is using a £1m underspend on its private sector mental health services to offset a £2.9m acute overspend.

The primary care trust has stated the year-to-date underspend on “partnership commissioning” is £954,000, with a forecast underspend of £968,000.

The main reason for the surplus is the non-recurrent benefit of reducing placements in private sector providers in mental health. The underspend is being used to offset the acute commissioning overspend.

The acute overspend is currently £2.9m, with a forecast overspend of £3.9m. The PCT said the reasons for this over-performance are various and are being investigated.

Most of the overspend is attributed to The Dudley Group of Hospital, which is £910,000 overspent to date. The other over-performance is predominantly at four providers - Royal Wolverhampton, Sandwell and West Birmingham, Royal Orthopaedic and Ramsey Healthcare.

A spokeswoman said the underspend on private mental health services was due to reduced demand.