FINANCE: NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent has used more than £5m in reserves to maintain a surplus in the first quarter of 2012-13, according to board papers.

The finance report from the July board meeting of the Kent and Medway primary care trust cluster details the position of both NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent and five local clinical commissioning groups.

“At the end of June, the overall performance for the PCT is a surplus of £3m, which is in accordance with the planned profile,” the report said.

“However, this position is supported by the use of £5.2m from contingency reserves, representing 36 per cent of the available funds,” it warned. “Without this support, the PCT would have been overspent by £2.2m.”

Meanwhile, overall the east Kent CCGs are overspent against their East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust contract by £1.5m, but performance is “mixed”.

Ashford was showing overspending of £0.204m, Canterbury £0.727m, South Kent Coast £0.14m, and Thanet £0.744m, according to the report. However, Swale was underspent by £0.022m.

“A significant proportion of the unplanned activity at East Kent Hospitals University FT relates to critical care that occurred during month one,” the report states. “However, other areas of unplanned activity are being investigated and actions will need to be taken to bring expenditure back into line with budget.”

It cautions that activity and spend is also “running in excess of planned levels” at Medway Foundation Trust.

Its contract with CCGs was overspent by £0.32m at the end of June, with the main areas of overspending relating to long-stay patients and intensive care.

In addition to the emerging pressures against the acute contracts, the report highlighted other areas of overspending as mental health, long-term conditions, pharmacy and prisons.

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