FINANCE: East Kent Hospitals University FT is considering whether to set an £8m surplus target for the next financial year.

According to a finance report presented to the board in January, the FT has upped its surplus plans from £5.5m to £8m for 2011-12.

Jeff Buggle, director of finance and performance management, told the board the current forecast for 2011-12 was a surplus of £5.5m.

However, it was noted that the plan had been presented earlier to the finance and investment committee on 25 January, where discussions had taken place around establishing a local stretch target to take into account future financial challenges.

Deputy chair Jonathan Spencer referred to the discussions at the committee, noting that members had said the £5.5m forecast surplus was too low and the trust “needed to generate above this level to reduce risk and ensure sufficient cash flow”.

The finance report notes that chief executive Stuart Bain told the subsequent board meeting that he agreed with the finance committee that the forecast was too low and had proposed an internal stretch target surplus of £8m be considered.