Doncaster hospitals trust hemorrhaging £3.5m per month

The Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Foundation Hospitals Trust
The Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Foundation Hospitals Trust
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A cash-strapped Doncaster hospitals trust has been hemorrhaging £3.5 million per month for the last three months, new figures have revealed.

Bosses at the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust say they are working hard to bring the gap between the trust’s income and expenditure under control amid existing financial troubles.

Chiefs warn solving the problem may result in the introduction of ‘uncomfortable’ ways of working for staff.

It comes as documents before health chiefs showed the trust had previously underestimated the true extent of its deficit by more than £6million for the 2015-16 financial year.

The latest financial reports show the trust is currently operating at a loss of some £27million.

Mike Pinkerton, chief executive for the trust, said today: “The gap between income and expenditure has been running over the last three months at a monthly deficit of £3.5m.

"To address this, working closely with our regulator, we put actions in place to improve control of our finances, the first effects of which can be seen in a £600,000 reduction in expenditure in December.

“In the next nine to 12 months we will embark on an intense period of highly focussed activities to maximise savings and in some cases that may mean introducing new ways of working, which at times may be uncomfortable for our staff, but it will be the right thing to do to put the Trust on the path to financial health and thereby ensure quality and safety continue to be maintained and improved where possible.”

Five weeks ago, financial reports presented to the Trust stated it was £21.1m in the red. Previous forecasts had indicated it would end the financial year more than £2m in surplus.

Mr Pinkerton told The Free Press: “In October we became aware that the financial position of the trust being reported to the Board was considerably different from the trust’s true financial position.

“Immediately we began an internal investigation into the accounts and over the last 10 weeks our priority has been establishing the true financial position, which is currently a deficit of £27m to December 2015.

“Work is underway to produce a detailed year end forecast for the next finance board report.”

The serious failings first emerged in July last year when officials discovered bank accounts held less cash than expected.

This prompted the resignation of finance chief Michael Lowry and the launch of an internal investigation.