Care overspend at city hospitals

Sheffield's Royall Hallamshire Hospital
Sheffield's Royall Hallamshire Hospital
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Spending on specialised care at Sheffield’s hospitals has spiralled over budget by millions after NHS chiefs admitted to ‘significant weaknesses’ in how funding for treatments is calculated.

Bosses at NHS England have ordered a review into the overspend - on services ranging from radiotherapy and chemotherapy to kidney dialysis and intensive care for newborns - which was over £7m in Sheffield and ran to £377m nationally in 2013-14.

The financial problems are being blamed on difficulties calculating budgets following the abolition of primary care trusts last year.

A report to a meeting of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s board of directors last month revealed NHS England had asked for savings of up to £7.7m to be found because of the ‘overall financial position on specialised services’.

The trust had previously been asked to find £1.9m in savings.

“It is unclear how such fundamental differences will be resolved at this late stage but the trust will resist attempts to simply transfer a financial problem to it,” said the report.

Neil Priestley, finance director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “The level of demand for services in 2013-14 exceeded NHS England’s plan, causing an overspend in areas across the country, including Sheffield.

“The contract for 2014-15 with NHS England is still under discussion but we only have a relatively small number of issues which have not been agreed and we hope to move closer to a final agreement over the next few days.”

An NHS England spokesman said: “We are reviewing every opportunity to improve efficiency and reduce costs while maintaining the quality of services.”

Excess spending across Yorkshire totalled £44m against a budget of nearly £1.1bn in 2013-14.

Nationally, £1.6bn more will be spent on specialised services in 2014-15 - 13 per cent more than last year.