• Oxford University Hospitals FT reforecasts its financial position, with its end of year forecast deteriorating by £24m
  • Follows a large deterioration late in 2016-17
  • Also significant performance problems

One of England’s flagship teaching hospital trusts has had to reforecast its financial position in-year, which has deteriorated by £24m.

The deterioration at Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust comes six months after NHS Improvement launched an investigation into a collapse in its financial position during 2016-17.

Its initial plan for this financial year was a £19m surplus, discounting sustainability and transformation funding. Under the revised plan, it is planning a deficit of around £5m – a deterioration of about £24m. Its year to date position at the end of month six was a £14.3m deficit.

NHS Improvement began an investigation into the Shelford Group trust’s finances in May after it ended 2016-17 £22.6m worse than plan, discounting STF.

A trust board paper this month said that, although it had to reforecast: “NHSI had endorsed the trust’s objective to focus on improving underlying EBITDA, whilst making it clear that the trust would be expected to deliver the best possible bottom line at year end.”

The trust’s EBITDA – a measure similar to a company’s operating cash flow – is also substantially behind plan this year.

OUH finance director Jason Dorsett said: “The trust is continuing to discuss its plans with NHS Improvement.” He did not confirm whether the trust has yet seen the findings of the investigation into last year’s deterioration.

An OUH board paper also said: “NHSI was reported to have endorsed the trust’s own assessment of the problem that historical cost growth greater than income over several years had created an underlying deficit, masked by one-off items.”

At the time of the dramatic financial deterioration in quarter four 2016-17, the trust blamed it on “operational factors” and missing out on STF.

On top of its deteriorating finances the trust is battling with significant performance concerns:

  • Its emergency department four hour wait performance dropped to 83 per cent in September against a trajectory target of 90 per cent
  • In September bed occupancy was “almost 100%”
  • At the end of September, 13 per cent of the 50,900 elective waiting list had waited longer than 18 weeks.

Mr Dorsett joined the trust in October 2016, having previously held senior finance roles at Monitor then NHS Improvement. His last role was director of NHSI’s financial improvement and special measures programmes.

OUH’s previous finance director, Mark Mansfield, is now a regional finance director at NHSI.

 

Trusts must reduce deficits by two-thirds to hit official forecast