October 31, 2018 2.49 pm This story is over 63 months old

Hospital trust boss sets 2019 target to leave financial special measures

Ambitions to escape financial special measures

The chief executive of the trust which runs Grimsby and Scunthorpe hospitals said he wants the organisation to be out of financial special measures by 2019.

Dr Peter Reading, who runs Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Trust, said he is working with regulators to get the health authority balancing its books.

NLaG was placed in financial special measures by NHS Improvement back in March 2017.

The trust recently missed its deficit target for the first six months of the year by £3.91 million.

But, Dr Reading said NLaG is dealing with its deficit which had been difficult to handle last year.

Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby. Picture: Calvin Robinson.

“We have stabilised our finances, they were escalating out of control,” he said.

“We’re beginning to reverse the negative position and my timetable for getting out of financial special measures is next year.

“We are working really hard with our regulators to understand why we are in deficit.

“Some of the reasons are structural and not in our control, they are to do with the special needs of our hospitals and our local population.”

He added that the trust has a cost improvement programme and is looking at three areas to keep finances down.

Scunthorpe General Hospital. Picture: Colin Babb.

The trust is just one of four in the country to be in both financial and quality special measures.

NLaG has forecast a £43.5 million overspend by the end of the year, meaning the trust would be £12 million over its planned target.

Health bosses at the trust said increased pressure on staffing and maintenance costs led to the increase.

They added that they still expect to make around £15 million worth of savings in the trust’s plan.

But Dr Reading said reducing agency staff costs, making wise purchases and “good housekeeping” will help NLaG to reduce its deficit.

“We spend many millions a year on agency staff,” he said.

“A lot of that is the premiums that you pay to the agencies and that’s just money going out of the NHS, it’s of no financial benefit to the health service.

“Some of our agency staff are first class, but inevitably if you have got people coming in on different shifts, it undermines the quality of what you do.”

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