NHS South West Essex predicted in the autumn it was heading for a £43m overspend on its budget, but it limped over the year-end line with a small surplus. How did it manage it?

Among a range of money raising efforts, £9.5m was released from contingencies, plus £7m of historic surpluses “returned” from NHS East of England, said a report on the trust’s turnaround, submitted to last month’s board meeting.

More money - £2.3m - came from a semi-successful attempt to save on its contract with Basildon and Thurrock Foundation Trust – it had planned to shave £12m off the contract mainly through “demand management schemes”.

The PCT also spent £1m less than forecast on public health, as projects were put “on hold pending review of the overall PCT financial position”. There was a consequent impact on services.

Although the effect of the turnaround has “yet to be fully quantified”, the trust has admitted that chlamydia screening was affected and has recognised a “potential turnaround impact” on childhood immunisation and smoking cessation rates.

The PCT must now come to terms with a 2011-12 quality, innovation, productivity and prevention challenge totalling £56m.

Meanwhile in Berkshire, there is trouble over a plan to move the majority of mental health inpatient services to a single site in Reading.

Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust consulted nearly 800 people employing an alternative vote system. The plan was chosen, despite being the least popular of the options on offer.

The reconfiguration has now been put on “pause” while Slough Borough Council investigates whether the trust’s decision was “fair and reasonable”.