• Finance director leaves Kettering General Hospital FT during period of £13m deterioration against financial plan in three months
  • Trust currently under CQC warning notice following inspectors identify ”sub-optimal care”
  • Kettering has missed deadline to start reporting RTT data again after it was suspended in December 2015
  • Agency spend, A&E targets and septicaemia death rates also causing concern

The finance director of a Midlands foundation trust has left amid a £13m deterioration in financial performance, and ongoing regulatory concerns over quality of care.

Kishamer Sidhu, left Kettering General Hospital Foundation Trust at the end of 2016 amid a rapid financial deterioration at the trust and an ongoing discussions with Nene Clinical Commissioning Group to confirm an end of year financial agreement.

His departure means the trust is currently without a chief executive or finance director. The trust’s chief David Sissling is on long term sick leave, while acting chief executive Clare Culpin is also leaving next month.

A senior local source told HSJ that the trust was “in real trouble” and their “top team has been pretty much decimated”.

The quarter three financial data published by NHS Improvement showed Kettering’s finances declined by an unplanned £13m in just three months. Including sustainability and transformation funding of £1.9m, it is now forecasting a deficit of £25.1m against a planned deficit of £12.1m and is heading for the fourth worst performance against plan of all NHS trusts.

A spokesman told HSJ that financial deterioration was due to £9m of “unplanned and unfunded winter pressures”, £1.5m spent addressing a radiology backlog, and “delays in agency control and surgical activity and costs resulting from delayed funding for capital programmes”.

The spokesman added that Mr Sidhu “left to pursue other opportunities within the NHS”.

The trust has also stated that Mr Sidhu’s departure was entirely unconnected with the financial performance of the trust.

A spokeswoman for Nene CCG said discussions between the commissioner and trust are still ongoing regarding the local year-end position.

The trust is also waiting for a formal rating from the Care Quality Commission following an inspection last October. The inspection resulted in the trust receiving a warning notice in November after patient safety and quality concerns were identified.

Corby CCG board papers from February said there was the possibility of “an overarching concern” regarding the trust’s reporting of risk, “especially as winter pressures are contributing to potential risks to patient care” It added that the inspection identified a “number of serious incidents where sub-optimal care had been identified”.

A spokeswoman for the CQC confirmed that the trust had provided evidence of improvements but the warning notice remains in place until future reinspections of “areas of concern”.

A report on the CQC inspection for Kettering’s hospital’s board said the regulator’s concerns had “a focus on women’s and children’s service, outpatients and the emergency department”.

It added that the focus was “predominantly on staff competencies for caring for children”, citing concerns with emergency department consultants and anaesthetists with paediatric care qualifications, nursing provision for the paediatric area and midwifery staffing level. The report also was concerned about nurse staffing within the coronary care unit.

The hospital has also missed its deadline to start reporting referral to treatment data. The trust had suspended standard reporting of RTT data since December 2015 after concerns of the quality of its data. Although it was meant to start reporting by the end of December 2016, Nene CCG’s board papers revealed that the trust is now aiming to return to reporting in March and recover the RTT standard by June this year.

A spokesman said: “The trust was advised by the national team not to start reporting on referral to treatment times until it had completed its planned upgrade of its patient administration system in January”.

  • This story was temporarily removed, then updated to include additional information from the trust, and reposted at 3pm on 6 March.