FINANCE: A West Midlands trust finished last year with a deficit £18.7m worse than that it originally planned for, recent board papers reveal.

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust ended 2014-15 with a deficit of £16.9m, against a planned surplus at the beginning of the year of £1.8m.

The trust’s April board papers said the main causes of the deficit have been shortfalls in income “due the displacement of elective surgery from emergencies” and higher than planned expenditure on agency staff.

Financial spreadsheets

The trust had planned a surplus at the beginning of the year of £1.8m

The trust received £21m from the Department of Health’s independent trust financing facility in 2014-15 to use as working capital, but because this was not “revenue support” it did not have an impact on the £16.9m deficit.

UHCW was also affected by an unusually high number of MRSA cases in last financial year.

In 2014-15 nine cases in eight patients were reported, compared with a target of zero and a usual number of two or fewer in previous years.

Comparison with other trusts showed that UHCW was an outlier for MRSA in 2014-15, and the trust was sufficiently concerned about the issue that it invited infection prevention specialists to conduct an external review.

A spokeswoman for the trust said “no common theme” had been identified by its investigations.

“The cases were not clinically linked, and were not due to an outbreak,” she said.

An action plan has been put in place that includes a review of the trust’s MRSA guidance and a drive to improve hand hygiene and cleaning.

The spokeswoman said the affected patients had recovered well and have returned home.