FINANCE: Demand management schemes in Portsmouth are £3.4m “adrift” of plan, partly due to extra work undertaken to cut waiting lists.

February board papers for Portsmouth Hospitals Trust said that internal savings were beating target, but this was “offset by the significant shortfall in performance against the cost reductions associated with demand management schemes which is currently £3.4m adrift of plan”.

The papers say: “Activity levels throughout the year have continued to significantly exceed the contract cap and as such it has been necessary for the trust and commissioners to agree a joint strategy to deal with the excess costs.”

Earlier in 2011-12 commissioners agreed to give the trust an extra £3.7m, focused on non elective work. However, the papers say: “Despite this additional investment into contract baselines, activity has continued to exceed both the plan and the cap.

“In recent months this has been further complicated by the commitment of both the trust and commissioners to improve performance against the elective referral to treatment target which has resulted in extra elective and outpatient work being undertaken.”

Demand management has causing difficulties across the Hampshire area, with University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust recently reported that “activity [was] higher than budget due to little activity management being delivered”.