East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the Conquest Hospital and Eastbourne’s DGH, has been placed in Financial Special Measures, it has been announced this afternoon (October 17).
The Trust has been dubbed one of England’s ‘most financially troubled hospitals’ by NHS Improvement.
The Financial Special Measures programme, launched by NHS Improvement as part of the financial reset in July 2016, provides a rapid turnaround package for trusts and foundation trusts which have either not agreed savings targets (also known as control totals), or planned to make savings but deviated significantly from this plan.
As part of financial special measures, each trust agrees a recovery plan with NHS Improvement. The trusts also get support from – and are held accountable by – a Financial Improvement Director. These are highly experienced current or former NHS leaders or experts in turning around major organisations.
The five trusts that are already in Financial Special Measures are responding well and NHS Trust says some of these are likely to be released from special measures in a few months’ time, when they have demonstrated continued delivery of their plan and key milestones.
East Sussex Healthcare is the latest Trust to be placed in Financial Special Measures, alongside Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Between them, the three Trusts are forecasting a deficit of over £73 million and have failed to keep up with their agreed control totals.
Jim Mackey, chief executive of NHS improvement, said: “NHS providers all over the country have responded well to the financial challenge, are working flat out to meet growing demand, and continue to provide high quality care in more efficient ways.
“The five trusts who are already in Financial Special Measures have responded well, and we’ve been able to work together to identify around £100 million extra in savings.
“However, the three providers going into Financial Special Measures are causing significant concern. They’ve agreed savings targets locally but are a long way from meeting them.
“The financial performance of these three trusts has simply not been good enough and so we’re sending in some targeted support to identify what the problem is, and help them fix it.”
Dr Adrian Bull, chief executive at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “In light of the significant financial challenges that the Trust faces, we have been placed in Financial Special Measures by NHS Improvement, and will be under the special measures regime for financial performance.
“Financial Special Measures were introduced by NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSI) to improve financial performance for Trust’s facing significant and unsustainable financial deficits for 2016/17 and future years. The Trust is one of a number of Trusts across England with a longstanding and significant financial challenge, and we are working jointly with our partners to address this.
“We aim this year to reduce our deficit from £48m to £31.2m, and this remains our plan. This is a really challenging target, but we need to continue to work towards financial sustainability as well as improving the quality of the services we provide. At the end of month five, however, we had overspent against this plan and it is for this reason that we are being supported in Financial Special Measures.
“We have already been working on our financial recovery plan and the support from NHS Improvement will help us to deliver this. In addition to this, we are fully engaged across the health economy with commissioners and partner organisations as part of East Sussex Better Together and the wider Sussex and East Surrey Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). These forums will support the delivery of improved health and care based on the needs of our local population.
“We are committed to improving our financial outcomes, whilst maintaining high standards of quality, and welcome the involvement of NHS Improvement to help us achieve this.”
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