Hospital trust has debts of £6million

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HOSPITAL managers have been forced to go cap in hand to the NHS in a bid to clear their mounting debts.

Bosses at East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Conquest and its sister hospital in Eastbourne, the DGH, have run up almost £6 million in debt since the start of the financial year last April.

Now the organisation is waiting with bated breath to see whether the Strategic Health Authority (SHA), the body which holds the purse strings for NHS trusts, will hand over the cash.

Bosses will know before the end of next month.

The trust’s board raised the issue at its meeting on Wednesday.

David Meikle, director of finance, said more than £400,000 alone was spent on drugs for patients in January and the trust also spent too much money on nursing costs over the same period.

He said: “Because of this we have not generated the savings we should have made.”

Darren Grayson, the trust’s chief executive, said: “The high cost on drugs has gone on specialised drugs for a small number of patients, and often these can cost tens of thousands of pounds for each patient.”

The hospital trust has experienced a busy period since last April with more patients coming through the doors at the Conquest and DGH.

More cash has therefore been needed for ad-hoc clinics to deal with increased demand, and, as a result, the trust has spent £2.8 million on additional clinics since last April.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds have also been spent on hiring agency staff throughout the year.

Jayne Black, deputy director of operations, said there had been increased pressure on emergency admissions at the Conquest and DGH in January and, as a consequence, some pre-booked operations had to be cancelled.