• Western Sussex Hospitals FT reports £8m deterioration in its finances
  • Trust cites “four unresolved challenges” with CCG as part of the reason
  • CCG launches review into activity coding “to ensure the CCG is appropriately charged for services”

A trust which is rated outstanding and is in relative financial health has reported an £8m deterioration in its finances.

Western Sussex Hospitals Foundation Trust was forecasting to meet its control total surplus of £16.4m at the end of January, but ended 2016-17 with a surplus of £8m.

The trust is in the second-highest segment of the NHS Improvement single oversight framework for trusts, which rates providers according to a range of criteria including financial health.

The trust received £9.9m from the sustainability and transformation fund, so its underlying position is a deficit of £1.9m. The deterioration to the underlying position was £5m.

A trust spokesman said the deterioration was partly explained by a sharp increase in demand for emergency services, particularly from patients with complex needs. This reduced the trust’s income from planned care procedures and increased staffing costs.

However trust board papers also attribute the deterioration to “four unresolved challenges with its lead commissioner Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group.

The CCG was given legal directions by NHS England in March after reporting a deficit of £27m for 2016-2017.

The trust and the CCG declined to comment on what the unresolved challenges are.

The CCG’s latest governing body paper included details about its financial recovery plan, which includes “a review of current payment mechanisms including the counting and coding of activity to ensure the CCG is appropriately charged for services”.

It will also include Right Care analysis to manage unwarranted variation, a value for money review of existing services, a demand and capacity review of elective care, and a review of non-patient care expenditure including the CCG’s running costs.