FINANCE: The trust has secured a £307.5m acute services contract for 2011-12, in what it believes to be one of the first contract negotiations for the year concluded in Cumbria or Lancashire.

According to its March finance report, in 2010-11 the hospitals trust received £311m in patient care revenue and total income of £332m, although it is not clear that either of these figures is directly comparable with the 2011-12 acute contract.

The trust has also signed a £41.9m contract to provide community services in the current financial year.

According to a report to its May board meeting, the trust has secured three year contracts for both acute and community provision.

It states: “The Department of Health had originally advised that due to the emergence of GP consortia [and the] National Commissioning Board, and therefore the future transfer of commissioning responsibilities, that [primary care trusts] should only agree contracts with providers with a one year duration.

“Exceptions could be agreed to this where services were transferring under the transforming community services programme to new providers if endorsed by emerging GP consortia.”

The East Lancashire Hospitals Trust contract was endorsed by GPs from its lead commissioning primary care trust NHS East Lancashire.

“This provides some stability forthe trust going forward and will be an important element in preparation for our foundation trust application,” the board paper states.

It adds: “It should be noted that non-recurrent funding agreements have been made for 2011-12 in relation to rehabilitation services and neonatal critical care services commissioners will review these services and associated pathways in 2011-12 to ensure the most effective models of service provision.

“The trust will participate in these reviews, and will also engage with PCTs and GP consortia over the provision of elderly care services and also services to patients with long term conditions as part of the agreed programme of pathway transformation.”