Struggling hospitals have racked up multi-million pound deficits while others built up big surpluses – a situation described as ‘not sustainable’ by MPs.
The warning was made by the National Audit Office as NHS trusts in neighbouring West Yorkshire cities revealed widely contrasting financial fortunes.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals expects to be around £18m in the black at the end of 2018-19, while Wakefield-based Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust has forecast a deficit of almost £20m.
It is the second year running that the Leeds trust will have cash left over as chronic financial woes continue at Mid Yorkshire.
The Leeds Teaching Hospitals surplus on March 31, 2018, was £18.9m. A trust spokesperson said: “We are forecasting the trust will achieve a financial surplus for 2018-19 at a similar level to the surplus we announced last year.”
It follows a programme of measures to cut unnecessary spending, the trust said, adding: “This programme focuses on our patients’ experience by delivering efficiency and improvements to how our services are run, saving money in the long-term.”
Mid Yorkshire ended last year £20m in the red and rising demand on hospitals means meeting its deficit target this year could be difficult.
Finance director Jane Hazelgrave said: “The trust is still reporting it will achieve its planned deficit of £19.7m, but there is significant financial risk due to the operational pressures facing the NHS.”
The National Audit Office (NAO) said deficits at some NHS trusts being offset by surpluses at others “does not paint a picture that is sustainable”.
Warnings have also been made that staff shortages mean a £20.5bn NHS funding increase is not enough to tackle the growing waiting lists and A&E delays.
The NAO’s annual report on NHS financial sustainability is released today.