FINANCE: The trust whose chief executive is leading the Kent and Medway sustainability and transformation plan has said it cannot make the savings demanded in the first year.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust had a deficit in 2015-16 of over £23m and its business plan anticipates an overspend of £22.9m in 2016-17. Reaching this amount would still require it to make £22m in efficiency savings – 5.5 per cent of its turnover – and assumes it can significantly reduce agency spending.

However, the “control total” set by NHS Improvement for the trust is a £7.8m surplus after receiving £12.5m of sustainability funding. To do so, the trust would have to save an additional £18.2m – close to another 5 per cent of its turnover.

Trust board papers said “the trust is not at a point at this stage to accept the control total”. The trust said it was still in talks with NHS Improvement about its financial plan and had agreed contracts with the majority of commissioners. It had agreed for one contract, understood to be with West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group, to enter the dispute resolution process on a number of issues.

In a statement, the trust added: “[The trust] has an established plan to reduce its deficit in a carefully managed and sustainable way. This will steadily return the organisation to financial balance without impacting on patient care (over the coming years).

“MTW has a strong track record of proactively developing schemes that improve patient experience and provide better value for money.

“At the same time, MTW is working closely with its partners to develop system-wide changes to help address unprecedented demand for unplanned hospital care, which has adversely affected the trust’s financial position.”

Chief executive Glenn Douglas was appointed in March to lead the STP process in Kent and Medway, which has some of the most challenged trusts in the country. Medway Foundation Trust has reported a 2015-16 deficit of £52.5m, while East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust expects to have a deficit over £30m.