FINANCE: North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust was reporting a small surplus of £198,000 a month before the end of 2012-13, its latest finance report shows. However, in order to record a surplus the trust needed to include a disproportionately large chunk of the strategic support it had received for the year in its income and expenditure statement.

North Cumbria secured external support of £26.3m for 2012-13 made up of £20m funding from strategic health authority NHS North of England, and £6.3m support for its private finance initiative costs.

The trust’s finance report to the end of February states: “To achieve a surplus position in month, £1.9m Strategic Support funding has been used in month bringing the total [used to date] to £24.4m or 92.8 per cent. If this had been used in evenly this would have been £24.1m or 91.6 per cent.”

North Cumbria originally planned to achieve a £1m surplus for the full year 2012-13, but later cut this target to £200,000.

The report said: “Expenditure in February was in line with forecast, with the Trust continuing to forecast a £200,000 surplus at year-end. The main risks to achieving this are premium rates of pay for agency staff and drug expenditure above forecast levels. Controls are in place to verify all non-clinical non-pay expenditure.”