Leeds NHS trust '˜confident' it will achieve £10m budget surplus

The city's NHS trust is expecting to overturn a huge financial challenge and record a budget surplus for the first time in four years.

Saturday, 17th February 2018, 11:58 am
Updated Saturday, 17th February 2018, 12:00 pm
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Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said its expected surplus of around £10m at the end of March would be its biggest ever.

The organisation looks set to make £63m in savings and balance its books as other NHS trusts around the country struggle with multi-million pound deficits, leading to calls for an overhaul of the health funding system.

Finance director Simon Worthington said: “This will be the first surplus delivered in four years and the largest surplus that the trust has ever delivered.”

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The surplus has been made possible with cash from the government’ Sustainability and Transformation Fund (STF), a pot of money made available to NHS trusts if they meet strict performance targets.

The standards required of NHS hospitals include staying within an agreed budget called a “control total” and meeting A&E waiting time targets.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals expects to meet an agreed deficit of £14m to free up the STF money it is entitled to.

Mr Worthington said: “The trust is now confident that it will achieve its underlying control target of £14m deficit and will receive the vast majority of the STF funding which will mean that the trust ends the year with a surplus of circa £10m.”

The STF scheme has been criticised for penalising NHS trusts struggling to balance their books and meet A&E targets.

The latest forecast for the combined deficit of NHS trusts in England at the end of 2017-18 was £623m, £127m worse than planned. An update is expected to be published on Monday.

Hospital trusts are currently in talks with NHS Improvement, their financial regulator, over budget targets for 2018-19.

NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts, has warned of extra costs facing the health service from opening extra beds and hiring agency staff to cope with a busy winter.

NHS Providers analyst Phillippa Hentsch said: “Looking ahead, we must be realistic about the financial ask of the provider sector given the tight financial settlement the NHS has been given.”