Trying to predict the future for the NHS is always difficult, as there always seems to be a reorganisation or a winter crisis just round the corner. However, primary care trusts in Sussex have given it a go.

The NHS Sussex cluster’s commissioning support unit has looked into its crystal ball and done its best to forecast how service providers will match up to their contracts come next April. It is the first time the unit has compiled a “pan-Sussex” performance report.

Unfortunately, based on data for the first two months of the financial year, it is projecting an overspend of £77.1m against budgets on all contracts for 2011-12, of which £65.2m is forecast to occur in the acute sector. Community providers are expected to overspend by £9.5m and primary care by £2.3m. mental health is forecast to break even.

The largest acute overspend is expected at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust, which is projected to be £23.9m over budget on its contract at the end of the year.

The report, previously published in the board meeting section of NHS West Sussex’s website, mysteriously disappeared at the end of last week.

The predictions for Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals contrast with the confidence of NHS Brighton and Hove. Its own finance report for the first three months of the year predicts it is on course for a surplus of £4.6m and that “overperformance at BSUH is currently covered by release of contingency”.

Elsewhere in the region, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust has signed up Bob Deans, formerly of NHS Southampton City, as its interim chief executive. However, the trust still has senior management gaps, with its chair having announced his retirement and recruitment underway for a finance director.