• Regulator to appoint improvement directors to St George’s, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole, and University Hospitals of North Midlands
  • NHS Improvement says trusts will receive a package of support
  • They can also expect tougher interest rates on the bailout loans from the Department of Health

Three more trusts have been placed in financial special measures after forecasting a combined deficit of £142m for the end of this year.

Regulators will appoint financial improvement directors to:

  • St George’s University Hospitals Foundation Trust;
  • Northern Lincolnshire and Goole FT; and
  • University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust.

Seven other trusts are already in financial special measures.

NHSI said the three trusts will each receive a package of support “designed to achieve rapid financial improvement, while maintaining or improving their quality”.

University Hospital of North Staffordshire

University Hospital of North Staffordshire

UHNM has forecast a deficit of £40m for 2016-17

They can also expect tougher interest rates on the bailout loans they receive from the Department of Health.

On Monday, HSJ revealed how trusts in financial special measures are paying 6 per cent interest on some of their loans, which is up to four times higher than the rate charged to other providers.

Jim Mackey, chief executive of NHSI, said: “We know patient demand is high and that these are difficult times for the NHS, which is why it is even more important that NHS trusts keep a strong grip on their finances.

“We know that trusts meeting their financial plans also provide better quality services to patients.”

He said the financial special measures regime had “already saved the NHS around £100m” in 2016-17, although it is unclear how this figure was calculated and HSJ has requested a breakdown.

The improvement directors will be employed by NHSI, but it is not yet clear whether they will be interims on a day rate, existing employees, or seconded from another trust.

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole has forecast a year-end deficit of £31m, against a planned deficit of £23m.

Richard Sunley, interim chief executive, said the trust was struggling with increased emergency activity and a high medical vacancy rate, adding: “These pressures on our services has also seen a drop in our planned activity [operations and procedures] and therefore our income.”

However, he pointed out that the trust had still delivered 4 per cent efficiency savings, which is double the rate that Lord Carter had said was achievable.

St George’s is forecast to end the year with a £71m deficit, against a planned deficit of £35m. It is already in the main special measures regime over quality concerns.

Interim chair Sir David Henshaw said: “We are taking steps to reduce our financial deficit, whilst also tackling the long-standing and systemic problems the trust faces. The problems we’ve identified are significant, but we are making progress.”

UHNM has forecast a deficit of £40m, which is £20m worse than planned. 

Chief executive Paula Clark said: “UHNM have been open about our financial challenges, so we very much welcome the extra support that we will receive from NHS Improvement.

“We have already put in place an action plan to get our finances back on track and we will be working closely with NHSI to see whether there are any additional initiatives we can put in place. We will be updating on progress at our monthly Board meetings and will keep the public and stakeholders sighted on progress throughout the year.

“We are confident that with the support of our fantastic staff and colleagues across the wider health and care economy, we will make significant progress within this financial year.

“I would like to reassure patients that there will be no change in the quality of the care or treatment they receive at UHNM - our services will continue to operate as normal, including access to emergency care.”

HSJ’s planned and forecast deficit figures exclude sustainability and transformation funding, which is only paid to trusts which have met their staged financial targets.

NHSI previously said that 12 trusts would be considered for the financial special measures regime.

When asked why other trusts which have seen steeper deteriorations have avoided special measures, NHSI said it considers a range of factors including “exceptional mitigating circumstances”, any existing regulatory action or support, whether the existing management requires additional support, and the recent track record of financial recovery.

The trusts already in financial special measures are:

  • Barts Health Trust;
  • Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust;
  • East Kent Hospitals University FT;
  • East Sussex Healthcare Trust; Gloucestershire Hospitals FT;
  • Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust; and
  • North Bristol Trust.

Croydon Health Services Trust and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals FT exited the regime last month.

 

Three more trusts placed in special measures