Exclusive: Region’s hospitals face £100m debt crisis

Yorkshire hospitals' deficitYorkshire hospitals' deficit
Yorkshire hospitals' deficit
Hospitals across the region face a dramatic worsening in their finances as projections show they will plunge more than £100 million into the red in the year ahead.

The Yorkshire Post can reveal a series of NHS trusts - some for the first time - are forecasting deficits amid soaring demand for care, staff shortages and static funding for services.

The financial crisis will pile further pressure on the main parties ahead of Thursday’s General Election as fears grow extra cash already pledged for the health service in years ahead will prove inadequate.

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NHS services in a number of areas face major restructuring to restore local finances leading to tough decisions over the future shape of care as more is provided out of hospital.

Hull Royal Infirmary. Picture: Ross Parry AgencyHull Royal Infirmary. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Hull Royal Infirmary. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Labour last night seized on the figures which reveal the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS trust is predicting a £29m deficit in 2015-16, with the Hull and East Yorkshire NHS trust forecasting a £22m debt.

Others facing upheaval include the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS trust which is facing a £19m deficit in the year ahead and the York NHS trust which is declaring a deficit for the first time and warning the position could worsen significantly in coming years.

Hospitals chiefs in Leeds are expected to reveal the scale of their difficulties later this month. A deficit predicted at one stage to be £49m in 2014-15 has been reduced by more than half in part thanks to a bail-out of at least £14m. A similar deal with the Wakefield-based Mid Yorkshire NHS trust saw it reduce its deficit by nearly half to £9m.

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In Sheffield, the city’s children’s hospital says it facing an underlying deficit in 2015-16. Other trusts facing deficits in the year ahead are expected to include Barnsley and South Tees which were in the red in 2014-15.

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said: “David Cameron promised to cut the deficit, not the NHS. But we now know that, in reality, he has created a large deficit in the NHS. The financial crisis in Yorkshire’s NHS is biting this year, with patients seeing treatments rationed, services closed and hospitals without enough staff.

“Hospitals forced to spend £1 billion on agency staff last year because of the shortage of nurses under David Cameron. Only Labour’s plan to recruit an extra 2,100 nurses in Yorkshire - paid for with £2.5 billion extra a year - will allow hospitals to break the hold of the staffing agencies and get their finances into better shape.”

Siva Anandaciva, head of analysis at NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts, said as many as seven in 10 providers expected to be in the red in 2015-16, “many for the first time in their history”.

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“The harsh reality is that NHS providers are being required to meet a level of demand for which they are not fully funded,” he said.

“To break free of this downward financial spiral we need all political parties and senior officials to acknowledge the scale and cumulative impact of the challenges faced by NHS providers and their partners across the health and care system, and we need the national bodies to work with the provider sector to ensure the policy, funding and regulatory conditions enable NHS providers to continue to improve performance and give patients the health service they deserve.”

Lee Bond, chief financial officer for Hull and East Yorkshire NHS trust said a financial recovery plan was being drawn up.

“The months ahead are expected to be extremely challenging for us, but we are no different to many other trusts in this respect or in terms of forecasting a deficit for 2015-16.”

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Andrew Bertram, director of finance at the York NHS trust, said: “For the first time in our history our plan for the new financial year shows a deficit position. This is disappointing as we have a strong track record of delivering demanding efficiency targets coupled with managing increasing costs, for example agency and locum staff. This has made the delivery of these plans all the more challenging. We are focusing on this as a matter of priority to ensure that we can meet our financial obligations and avoid any significant decline in our general financial performance in future years.”