A clinical commissioning group that gave a neighbouring CCG £3m at the start of the financial year has asked for its money back after running into financial problems.

Canterbury and Coastal CCG agreed to transfer the money to Ashford CCG in April 2017. The groups share an accountable officer.

However, Canterbury and Coastal’s financial position has deteriorated and at this month’s governing body meeting it decided to formally withdraw the £3m offer of financial support.

A report to the board said that it would have a deficit of £7m “at best” that could be reduced to £4m if the support was withdrawn. The CCG had originally been aiming to break even in 2017-18. However, the deficit could potentially double if mediation on contract disputes with two of its main providers goes against it. Its forecast outturn remains a £5m deficit.

Ashford had a savings target of nearly £21m for this financial year – nearly 15 per cent of its turnover. Its January governing body papers suggested that without the support from Canterbury it would have a year end deficit of £12m, against a plan for a small surplus. In its returns to NHS England, it continues to report an outturn in line with plan, despite showing an overspend of £7m after nine months.

In a joint statement, the CCGs said: “Ashford CCG and Canterbury and Coastal CCG have a history of working closely together to improve patient care, from a shared staff resource to a vision for the future of health and social care.

“The additional money for Ashford CCG was agreed in April 2017 when Canterbury and Coastal CCG had a budget surplus. Canterbury and Coastal CCG is no longer in that position and has formally withdrawn from the agreement.”

Governing body papers for both CCGs also show they are struggling with delivering cost improvement plans.

Canterbury and Coastal expects to save £3.6m through quality, innovation, productivity and prevention programmes. It had forecast £14.5m in its annual plan. It is now targetting savings in its financial recovery plan of nearly £12m, of which £3.4m still “needs to be articulated”.

Ashford’s QIPP forecast is £400,000, against a plan of £3.7m.