FINANCE: George Eliot Hospital Trust’s month one deficit is higher than planned because of an over reliance on agency staff, its May board papers show.

The small West Midlands acute trust is reporting a deficit of £1.457m – £0.167m behind its plan of £1.290m.

The under performance is accounted for in large part by an over dependence on costly agency staffing. In April the trust’s agency expenditure as a percentage of its overall pay stood at 16.4 per cent – more than double its 7.3 per cent target.

The agency expenditure is being driven by a high level of nursing vacancies, with more than 9 per cent of positions unfilled in April.