FINANCE: Royal Wolverhampton Trust will not receive £2m earmarked for additional nurses following the arbitration of a dispute with its clinical commissioning group.

The West Midlands trust entered into formal NHS England contract arbitration last month over a £4m dispute with Wolverhampton CCG over two unresolved areas of the trust’s contract for 2015-16.

New Cross hospital

The trust used the £2m to hire extra nurses following a CQC inpsection

The first dispute, valued at £2m, was over the CCG’s intention to withdraw recurrent funding for the provision of seven day working and supernumerary ward nurses.

The second disagreement, also valued at £2m, related to Wolverhampton CCG’s intention not to continue non-recurrent funding given to the trust in 2014-15 to pay for enhanced levels of nursing.

According to Royal Wolverhampton’s board papers for April, the extra nurses paid for by the funding were “required to meet the recommendations of the [Care Quality Commission] and the Francis report”.

A CQC inspection of the trust in September 2013 flagged concerns about low nursing numbers on some wards and urged it to increase staffing.

A spokeswoman for Wolverhampton CCG told HSJ that “following arbitration, a ruling has been made that allocates £2m to each organisation”.

She added: “We recognise that this is a challenging outcome and we will continue to work with The Royal Wolverhampton Trust to deliver the best possible health services for the people of Wolverhampton, within the resources that are available to us.”

The outcome leaves the trust with a £2m shortfall against its financial plan, which could affect its ability to maintain staffing levels.

Royal Wolverhampton told HSJ yesterday it was prevented from commenting by election period purdah rules.