FINANCE: NHS South Staffordshire said it had improved its deficit during December and its position would be further strengthened by the agreed return of reserves by its strategic health authority.

Board papers said, at month nine, the primary care trust was reporting a deficit of £1.6m, prior to the inclusion of strategic change reserve (SCR) funding. This represents an improvement of £1.3m compared to the position reported by the PCT at month eight.

The papers said discussions had taken place with NHS West Midlands regarding the return of an element of the PCT’s SCR monies to “enable break even to be achieved”.

The board was told the strategic health authority had now confirmed the return of £3m SCR monies, while it was noted that £9m was originally top sliced.