FINANCE: University Hospital of North Staffordshire is predicting an end of year surplus of £4.1m but had achieved less than £1m in surplus by December.

Board papers note that NHS West Midlands and the Department of Health have been” informed that the trust will achieve a full year surplus of £4.1m”.

The finance report states: “This is less than the £8.1m we indicated was required to fund the capital programme. As a result the 2011-12 capital programme has been reduced by £4m.”

It adds that the forecast surplus is, however, more than the £2.3m required to avoid an external auditor sending the health secretary a “Section 19” letter highlighting that the trust has failed to meet its statutory duty to breakeven. But the report cautions that if a surplus of only £2.3m is achieved, the 2011-12 capital programme “will be cut back further”.

The report warns that the year-to-date surplus at month nine, December, was £0.9. While this represents an improvement from the £0.5m in November, it notes that the year-end forecast is “significantly more than the £0.9m surplus reported”, and the “financial position needs to improve by £3.2m to achieve the £4.1m that the SHA and Department of Health are now expecting”.