FINANCE: The predicted year-end deficit of one of Britain’s biggest hospital trusts has more than doubled.
Barts Health Trust in London has seen the size of its deficit grow from the £44m it forecast at the start of the financial year to £93m in the most recent board papers.
Chief executive Peter Morris yesterday told the board approximately half the deficit came as a result of the trust missing its ambitious savings targets, with the remainder comprising fines from commissioners and the loss of income from cancelled elective operations.
HSJ understands that there have been days over the past two months when length of stay problems at the £1.1bn turnover trust have forced it to cancel a whole day’s elective work.
For the year to date, the organisation, which was created from the merger of three trusts across east London in April 2012, has achieved £41.4m in savings, compared to a target of £72.2m.
The trust also conceded that it would not receive £4m in Project Diamond funding from NHS England, a top-up payment supposed to compensate London specialists for the research they do and the complex nature of their work.
Mr Morris told the board that a further analysis he had commissioned put the “underlying” deficit at £75m, £28m of which was a by-product of the scheduling of payments to its private finance initiative suppliers.
The trust’s finance director Mark Ogden stepped down at the start of this month for personal reasons and Ian Miller has been appointed interim finance manager.
Barts is also awaiting the publication of two different Care Quality Commission reports, one into Whipps Cross University Hospital and another into Newham University and the Royal London hospitals.
Discussion on the report into Whipps Cross by directors suggested the CQC will criticise the hospital over equipment failures.
Mr Morris also described the inspectors’ finding that some staff said they were too scared of “repercussions” to report problems relating to patient care as “a tragedy”.
The board papers also pointed to significant access problems for the trust in accident and emergency and elective care.
The trust is still not submitting data on its elective care backlog because of IT issues.
Mr Morris’ report to the board noted that “the four hour standard was missed by a large margin in January, and regrettably on 6 January we had a 12 hour breach of the admission time standard at Whipps Cross on an extremely difficult day in terms of demand and patient flow.”
He also revealed the trust is exploring a “buddying or partnership” arrangement with Frimley Health Foundation Trust, a £500m turnover hospital trust covering Surrey and Berkshire.