February 5, 2020 2.26 pm This story is over 21 months old

Lincolnshire hospital trusts rack up £55m deficit at end of 2019

Bosses hope to meet their overspend targets

Hospital trusts in Greater Lincolnshire finished 2019 with a combined deficit of more than £55 million.

Both United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust (NLaG) racked up an overspend of £55.788 million as of December.

Both trusts, which are still in financial special measures, were within their deficit targets set for the end of the financial year.

Hospital bosses at ULHT and NLaG said they expected to meet their targets by April.

Lincoln County Hospital. Picture: Steve Smailes.

ULHT, which runs Lincoln and Boston hospitals, reported a deficit of £34.893 million at the end of 2019.

The trust agreed a target of £70.3 million with NHS Improvement for the end of the financial year.

Officials at ULHT said they hope to achieve the target in order to access further funding.

Paul Matthew, director of finance and digital at the trust, said the deficit was caused by rurality of the county, structural issues and the performance of the organisation.

He added that the trust has forecast to meet its control target for this year.

“The trust is forecasting delivery of its control total despite seeing a rise in the number of patients attending our A&E departments who are acutely unwell compared to previous years,” he said.

“This has been reflected with additional financial support from Lincolnshire’s commissioners to help with this extra demand.

“The trust acknowledges that there is much scope for financial improvement and is working internally and with system and national partners to reduce the deficit by proactively managing demand on its services and reduce reliance on high cost, temporary staff.”

Scunthorpe General Hospital, Church Lane, Scunthorpe. Picture: Calvin Robinson for Lincolnshire Reporter.

Meanwhile, NLaG, which runs hospitals in Scunthorpe and Grimsby, recorded an overspend of £20.895 million.

Bosses at the trust planned for a deficit of £25.4 million at the start of the year.

Brian Shipley, deputy director of finances at NLaG, said the organisation expects to hit the target and deliver £20 million worth of savings.

“The trust was placed in financial special measures in March 2017 following a significant deterioration in financial performance in 2016/17,” he said.

“This was primarily driven by an increase in spend on temporary clinical staffing.

“We now have an improved planned financial deficit of £25.4 million for 2019/20. This requires us to deliver a challenging cost improvement programme of £20 million.

“At this stage during the financial year, we have reported a deficit of £20.9 million, marginally ahead of the £21.1 million planned deficit. Therefore, we expect to hit the planned deficit for the year and deliver the savings required.

“We continue to work with our key partners to develop a more financially sustainable organisation.”

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