FINANCE: The succession of bank holidays in April has led to a lower than expected level of elective activity at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, which is reporting an above-forecast deficit.

The trust’s finance report for April, laid before its May board meeting, said the trust ended the first month of 2011-12 with £378,000 deficit, £87,000 worse than expected.

The report says:  “April was expected to in deficit because of the number of Bank Holidays resulting in a lower than average elective activity.

“The year has not started well for medicine with the usual problems of vacancies, sickness and maternity leave having to be covered by locum/bank and agency exacerbated by the bank and public holidays in the month, the cost of which has been signicificant.”

The UK had an extra bank holiday in April between the Easter and May Day holidays due to the royal wedding.

The report said surgery overspent in April due to “medical agency costs largely in paediatrics”, although other staff groups are within budget.

The trust’s performance for the month was given a risk rating score of 1, the worst possible rating. However the expected rating both for 2011-12 and for the first quarter is 3.