FINANCE: The trust still does not know where £4.2m of the savings it needs to make next year will come from, despite hiring PricewaterhouseCoopers to “review cost reduction and productivity opportunities for 2011-12”.

The management consultants were able to identify opportunities for the hospital cost improvement and productivity savings of £3.7m – just 28 per cent of the £13.3m minimum it will need to save next year, a report to its March 30 board meeting states.

“Independently the trust continued to review and establish logical CIPs/productivity opportunities which when combined came up to a current CIP plan of £9.091m,” it continues.

A further £4.2m of savings must be established “as a matter of urgency”, the report concludes.

All trusts are expected to deliver efficiency savings of 4 per cent next year, but St Helens and Knowsley will have to deliver 5 per cent.

The additional savings – an extra £2.5m of its cost base – are needed to offset “local cost pressures”. The “main contributing factors to [these local cost pressures] include PFI inflationary costs,” the report adds.