FINANCE: The closure of the accident and emergency department at the nearby Rochdale Infirmary has driven up emergency activity at East Lancashire, triggering financial penalties for the trust, its commissioners have reported.

The latest finance report for the NHS Lancashire cluster of primary care trusts states that the commissioners’ forecast 2011-12 overspend on NHS contracts fell by £2.2m between August and September.

The improvement was due “due to a significant underperformance of [payment by results] activity” at Pennine Acute Hospital Trust, it adds.

It continues: “Following the closure of the A&E department at Rochdale infirmary the activity shifted largely to East Lancashire Hospitals, and consequently the contract held by East Lancashire PCT with East Lancashire hospitals is overspent.

“However the additional activity at ELHT has triggered the non-elective threshold and they only receive the marginal rate of 30 per cent of cost.”

NHS business rules require that hospitals are paid only 30 per cent of the national “tariff” rate for emergency admissions above the numbers they treated in 2008-09.