FINANCE: A failure to identify key savings has put West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust £1.8m behind on its financial recovery plan, board papers show.

The trust, which is striving to gain foundation trust status, had hoped for a surplus of £2.8m by the end of June but only managed a surplus of £1m.

The key reason for the shortfall was a failure to hit a target of making £1.9m worth of savings, said the July finance report.

“Progress on firming up savings continues at a pace slower than required,” said the document. “The trust is reinforcing and strengthening controls on spending whilst other actions are put in place to increase savings and so improve the position.”

The trust overspent in all divisions – medicine, surgery, women’s and children’s, clinical support and corporate expenditure.

Members of the trust’s executive team have been leading projects to drive savings including in procurement and more efficient use of operating theatres.

The report also suggests the trust may struggle to live up to cash-flow requirements demanded by Monitor and the Department of Health.

The trust should aim for cash levels of about £6.5m but this may be difficult to achieve because plans to re-structure debt have yet to be put in place.

“Without the change in loan terms the trust will have very low cash balance, potentially reducing to £500,000 by the end of the year,” said the report.

Related files/tables