FINANCE: Portsmouth Hospitals Trust has set aside £2m in case it fails to hit its savings target for 2011-12, but has admitted that this might not cover the shortfall.

The trust, which had a deficit of £1.5m in the year to December, more than double what was planned, is still officially forecasting an end of year break-even position.

Board papers for February say that despite its own financial recovery plan and extra help from commissioners, extra demand for services has placed “significant pressure placed on the trust’s financial position”.

Three major risks were identified. Board papers say: “The trust and commissioners managing the costs associated with referral to treatment improvement and associated workload.

“At present £2m has been set aside to cover these costs but there is a risk that costs could exceed this level.”

The trust’s ability to hit its cost improvement plan target of £25m was identified as another risk. Portsmouth hospitals was £2.9m behind its CIP target of £21m for the end of December.

The third risk was with winter pressures. “If costs exceed these projections then this will put pressure on the trust’s projected year end forecast”, the papers said.