COMMERCIAL: Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust is struggling to reach an agreement on its 2011-12 contract with its lead commissioner.

Board papers say that “reaching an agreement [with NHS Sandwell] which will be acceptable to the trust is proving difficult”.

It says “significantly more work and negotiation will be required” in the coming weeks to ensure that a deal can be agreed within national and local deadlines.

The trust’s performance against its Department of Health control total shows a surplus of £1.538m for the first 10 months to 31 January 2011. Cash balances are approximately £5.7m higher than the revised cash plan.

The trust is expecting an increase in turnover of between 8 and 9 per cent as a result of taking over services from NHS Sandwell as part of transforming community services.