FINANCE: The primary care trust’s acute care budget was blown by £5.5m in 2010-11, due mainly to overspending on private providers.

NHS Oldham budgeted £152.1m for general and acute NHS providers last year, and £4.3m for private providers.

The PCT managed to keep its spending on NHS providers £587,000 below budget, due in to an agreed cap on its contract with the Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust, which saved Oldham an estimated £3m, and the establishment of a “referral gateway”.

But its spending on private providers rocketed to £9.2m, more than double its budget for private acute care.

“The [private sector] over-performance is due to a combination of waiting list initiatives carried out earlier in the year (£1m), onward referrals from [Clinical Assessment and Treatment Services] as a result of private provider consultant engagement (£1m) and the impact of patient choice through Extended and Free Choice Networks (£2m),” its draft statement of financial position stated.

“The recurrent level of activity is anticipated to be lower than 2010-11 out-turn and an appropriate level of activity is to be contracted from independent providers for 2011-12. The referral gateway implemented during 2010-11, will continue to ensure that contracted capacity for both NHS and independent providers is used effectively and efficiently.”

Overall the PCT’s draft statement reported a surplus of £1m for 2010-11, £18m of savings were delivered during 2010-11 through its financial recovery programme, and all financial statutory duties met.