WORKFORCE: Staff costs due to a “high levels of bed occupancy” at Oxford University Hospitals Trust could lead to a £2.3m shortfall in the organisation’s savings target.

November board papers say: “It is unlikely that the full level of planned savings from ward closures will be realised in the current year.

“Whilst efforts continue to be made to find alternative schemes it is now considered possible that this may result in a shortfall of £2.3m against the overall savings target for 2012-13.”

During the second quarter of 2012-13, activity levels above plan put pressure on pay costs. At month six, pay expenditure was around £2.5m above budget.

Additional temporary staff were employed, and expenditure on bank and agency staff rose from 4.9 per cent of workforce spend in June to 5.2 per cent by the end of September.

The trust has spent £9.5m on bank and agency staff in the first six months of the year. This is £1.3m higher than for the same period in 2011-12.

Contracted staff in post also rose. Between April and June the increase in staff was 20 whole time equivalents. Since June, the number employed rose by a further 89 WTE.