• York Teaching Hospital FT will stop providing outpatient services at Whitby Community Hospital from May
  • FT says service is no longer financially viable and was making an annual loss of £500,000
  • CCG obtaining procurement advice and looking at options to keep services at the site

A cash-strapped teaching hospital trust has announced it will stop providing outpatient services at a community hospital because they are not financially viable.

York Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust said this week it will stop providing outpatient services at Whitby Community Hospital.

Its statement said the services, which amount to around 590 clinics a year across 13 specialties, were no longer viable and incurred an annual loss of £500,000.

The trust said it had given Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group formal notice it will stop providing the outpatient clinics from 20 May 2018.

A trust spokeswoman said patients will still be able to attend their outpatient appointments at Scarborough General Hospital, which is nearly 20 miles away.

She added: “Following a review of our clinical activities at Whitby Hospital, we have taken the decision to withdraw from providing outpatient activities on that site.

“This decision has not been taken lightly, however it is not financially viable for us to continue.”

The decision was made at a board meeting on Wednesday where the trust reported its deficit had spiralled to £20.9m in September, against a plan of £1.1m.

The trust said this was due to high agency and locum costs, falling behind on its cost improvement plan and failing to hit its sustainability and transformation funding trajectory.

The trust managed to hit its £26.4m CIP target for 2016-17 and £25.8m target for 2015-16, but only about 40-50 per cent of these savings were recurrent.

Missing the STF trajectory could cost the trust up to £11.8m in funding for 2017-18.

The trust introduced a financial recovery plan at the end of quarter one and is still aiming to hit its control total of a £9m deficit for 2017-18.

However, HSJ understands the FT has agreed with NHS Improvement that it will review its financial recovery at the end of quarter three and the impact of further schemes over quarter four, which could lead to it reforecasting its final deficit total.

The outpatient clinics at Whitby form part of the larger community and acute contract for the region. York Teaching Hospital has been providing the outpatient services since it acquired Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare in 2012.

Bernard Chalk, interim finance director at the CCG, said the organisation was exploring options to continue to provide services at the hospital.

He added: “We are currently pursuing alternative options for providing outpatient services on the hospital site from 20 May 2018. This is a priority for the CCG and we have received assurance from the trust that the standard of service will be maintained with a smooth transition next year.

“We are currently in the process of obtaining procurement advice and will work with local GPs and providers to explore opportunities to deliver a range of outpatient services at the Whitby Hospital site.”