Warning over Leeds hospital finances for the next year

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Hospitals in Leeds have ended the financial year with £1.5m in the bank – instead of the £10m they had aimed for.

The total is better than their original forecast of £500,000, but not the amount needed to apply for prestigious foundation trust status.

During the next financial year they are not expecting to meet the financial requirements to become a gold-standard hospitals trust either.

Now directors at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust have been issued with a stark warning that over the next 12 months, a better hold must be kept on finances.

A report by finance director Neil Chapman said: “We cannot afford to invest and then still miss targets and suffer income loss and fines and penalties. This is what happened in 2012/13.”

Hospital bosses had aimed to end the financial year 2012/13 with a £10m surplus, but last year they agreed they would not be able to meet that target.

In the autumn it was revised to £5m, but last month they agreed to only aim to have half a million pounds in the bank – which Mr Chapman said at the time was “hugely disappointing”.

As reported previously in the Yorkshire Evening Post, the problems are partly down to failing to meet targets over accident and emergency care.

The hospitals trust lost £3m of funding because of missing the target on treating or admitting 95 per cent of patients in A&E within four hours.

A national shortage of specialist doctors is behind the problems.

Mr Chapman told a meeting that the trust ended the year with a £1.5m surplus, more than predicted.

Over the next 12 months it will have to save more cash, with £13.5m of savings still to be identified. A meeting on May 8 will consider the foundation trust application.

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