FINANCE: Overspending on agency staff has led to West Suffolk Foundation Trust halving its predicted surplus for the year.

The February board meeting heard that the year end surplus was now likely to be £500,000 rather than £1m. In January the trust overspent by £150,000 against forecast on agency staff.

“The £1.0m surplus relied on strict controls over the use of medical agency staff and as Januarys results suggest these costs will remain higher than forecast the surplus has been adjusted,” resources director Craig Black said.

For example, locum costs in the medicine directorate were £239,000 in January while the budget was just £26,000. While some of the these costs were accounted for by unfilled posts, £129,000 was “beyond the funded establishment”.