The trust which provides ambulance services for patients in Lincolnshire and the East Midlands has reported a deficit of over £1.5 million so far this year – more than double what was anticipated.
East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) figures reveal that the trust is in the red to the tune of £1,563,145 in the first four months of the financial year from April to July.
By contrast, the planned deficit for this period was only £711,905, meaning that the trust is £851,240 behind schedule already.
EMAS is still aiming for a surplus of £68,000 by the end of March next year, and has been challenged by the NHS Trust Development Authority to work towards a surplus of £638,000.
Richard Wheeler, Director of Finance at EMAS, said he was confident that the trust would deliver a “small surplus” by the end of March next year.
He said: “We’ve been incurring additional costs in the first four months of the financial year as we’re in the process of recruiting and training 200 frontline technicians, paramedics and emergency care assistants.
“What this means is that we’ve had to pay premium costs on overtime and voluntary private ambulances which in part explains the higher than anticipated deficit. As the year progresses, we hope that this expense would reduce considerably.
“We’ve also invested in new emergency vehicles on a regular basis in the early part of this financial year which is another reason for the deficit.
“Clearly, the financial position is challenging but like all trusts we’ve been asked to deliver efficiencies and higher surpluses. The balance is about maintaining our quality service but also ensuring a financial return.
“But we’re only four months into the financial year and we’re confident of achieving a small surplus as we did last year.”