NHS trust in £40m deficit forecast as crisis deepens

Hospital chiefs at Yorkshire’s biggest NHS trust are predicting a £40 million deficit as the scale of the financial crisis facing the region’s health service mounts.

Only three out of 15 NHS trusts running hospitals in the region are forecasting they will avoid deficits in 2015-16, with debts already expected to exceed £170m.

The position, reflected around the country, is ramping up pressure on Chancellor George Osborne ahead of July’s Budget for an emergency NHS bail-out.

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Managers in Leeds are predicting debts of £40.2m in the year ahead - the second year in a row it has run up huge debts - but these could escalate if they fail to achieve a mammoth £67m savings programme, around six per cent of its £1.1 billion budget.

The South Tees NHS trust, which runs services in Middlesbrough and Northallerton, has disclosed it will run up a £13.7m deficit.

The Rotherham NHS trust, which recently emerged from a series of financial difficulties, has published a one-year plan which will leave it £1.9m in the red, while Airedale NHS trust is predicting it will be £1.2m in deficit due to investment in extra capacity including more nurses.

Other trusts already forecasting big double digit deficits include Northern Lincolnshire and Goole (£29m), Hull and East Yorkshire (£22m) and Calderdale and Huddersfield (£19m).

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It leaves only Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Harrogate. and Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS trusts currently forecasting break-even or better.

At a meeting today, chief executive Julian Hartley will warn Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s board: “This year the trust enters one of the most challenging financial years in its history.”

It was expected by regulators to make “a big leap towards clinical and financial sustainability” in the year ahead as it faced its £67m efficiency target.

The scale of the challenges facing a number of trusts is likely to lead to controversial restructuring of services in the years ahead, with more care provided more cheaply outside hospitals, and some centres losing services including A&Es.