FINANCE: St George’s University Hospitals Foundation Trust is under investigation by Monitor because of a sudden deterioration in its finances.

  • Monitor investigates FT just three months after being authorised
  • St George’s delivered a £16.8m deficit in 2014-15. This could nearly double in 2015-16
  • FT says “unprecedented demand” and “fixed capacity” in beds and theatres have caused the financial deterioration

HSJ previously reported that just two months after being awarded foundation trust status the trust recorded a £10m unplanned deficit. It had previously expected to deliver a £6.9m surplus.

This has now worsened to a £16.8m deficit at the end of 2014-15, and the trust is planning for a deficit of up to £30m at the end of this financial year.

St George’s Hospital

St George’s Hospital FT delivered a £16.8m deficit in 2014-15

The trust has imposed “rigorous controls” on its spending including asking managers to cut bank and agency spending by 40 per cent.

Monitor delayed approval of the trust’s FT status in December because of concerns over its finances. However, it was approved in February.

The regulator has also questioned why the trust has failed to treat patients more quickly, something that was requested when the trust was given FT status.

Monitor said it had authorised the trust on the basis that it would break even in 2014-15 and deliver a surplus in 2015-16.

The trust has not met the four hour target to see, treat, admit or discharge 95 per cent of patients since October last year.

A trust spokesman said the unplanned deficit had arisen because of “unprecedented demand from very ill patients and fixed capacity in terms of beds and operating theatres”.

He added: “Towards the end of 2014-15 there was a significant divergence from plan ending the year with a £16m deficit instead of the small planned surplus.

“As a major trauma centre, the trust has been particularly affected by the operational pressures that have been seen nationally. During the winter we were faced with unprecedented demand from very ill patients and fixed capacity in terms of beds and operating theatres. This resulted in a cancellation of planned operations and longer waiting times for some patients. Financially it led to reduced income from planned activity combined with increased costs of staff and supplies.

“The St George’s Board is committed to maintaining quality and safety and takes its responsibility seriously for addressing these issues.

“We will work with Monitor to understand fully how and why this situation has happened, and to identify possible solutions.”

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