FINANCE: The south-east London primary care trust’s most recent finance papers showed it was £6.6m overspent by December with its three main acute providers, with another £2.2m “likely” by the end of the year.

The report predicted that by the end of March the overspends on the Local Acute Service Agreements would come to £3.8m at Guy’s and St Thomas’s Foundation Trust, £2.3m at King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust and £2.5m at The Lewisham Hospital Trust.

But the papers said the PCT’s “summarised revenue expenditure position for the period for December 2010 is showing a surplus of £3.8m” in line with the plan submitted to NHS London to create a £5.1m suplus by the end of March.

A planning document for next financial year said the PCT would need to achieve savings of just under £18m in 2011/12.

The PCT’s provider arm merged with The Lewisham Hospital Trust in August last year as part of the Transforming Community Services programme.

The Co-operation and Competition Panel approved the merger subject to conditions.

The trust’s response to the CCP said the regulator had decided: “There was a realistic prospect of material adverse effects on patients and/or taxpayers. This was because patients receiving community services after the integration may be referred exclusively, or to a larger extent than they would have been previously to integration with University Hospital Lewisham for treatment. The CCP requested assurance from both commissioners and providers that patient
choice would be protected following integration and required evidence of this.”

The PCT said in response: “Although [it is] a short time since the merger, as yet there are no indications that the merger has resulted in reduced patient choice.”