FINANCE: The north east London primary care trust reported managing to hold its deficit to £10.6m in December, the same as October and November.

This was described in board documents as “encouraging” but the PCT was still predicting in January that an £11.2m year-end deficit was “most likely”.

However, financial planning for 2011-12 suggests a hard year ahead. The minutes said: “The Enfield position is a £45m deficit for next year with a north central London sector position of £200m deficit.”

Regarding this financial year, minutes of the board meeting for January said: ”If the deficit is limited to £10m we are expecting it to be funded by [NHS London’s] Challenge Trust Board, although formal confirmation of this has yet been received.”

Measures taken by the PCT include writing to GPs twice and calling them to encourage 28-day prescribing.

The minutes said the money-saving measure “was not easy for practices to implement, but the opportunity in terms of achieving £10m means we have to go ahead with this project”.

One attendee asked the board if it had instructed providers to delay elective surgery until the end of the year.

Director of finance Ken Sharp said this was not the case but added: “University College London Hospital Foundation Trust had been asked to consider not treating earlier than required. He understood that a letter had been sent to all GPs.”