NHS trusts covering Solihull and the West Midlands have ended the year tens of millions of pounds in the red after a ‘challenging’ period for the health service.
The former Heart of England Foundation Trust – now part of the University Hospital’s Birmingham Foundation Trust (UHB) – accrued a £53million deficit – whereby spending exceeds income – against a predicted £7.5million.
The merger of Heart of England Foundation Trust (HEFT) – which controls Solihull, Good Hope and Heartlands hospitals – and the former University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust – which ran the Queen Elizabeth Hospital – was completed despite concerns of the financially healthy university hospitals trust acquiring HEFT’s high deficit.
The NHS Improvement website has revealed the accounts for NHS trusts in England and Wales, for the financial year which ended in April this year.
Other trusts in the West Midlands also struggled with Coventry’s University Hospital trust ending the year with an £18million deficit despite previous assurances that it would all but balance the books.
The University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust had pledged its 2017/18 deficit would not be above £292,000.
The trusts argue the disappointing results are related to very challenging year for the NHS nationally – with ‘unprecedented’ patient demands.
The NHS ended the year with a deficit of almost £1billion – around £460million above the ambitious plan set for the year.
The NHS Improvement report stated: “This was a challenging year for the NHS.
“During the second half of the year we saw the continuation of one of the most challenging winter periods that the NHS has had, with demand rising significantly and placing extraordinary pressure on NHS staff.”
A spokesperson for UHCW Trust, said: “UHCWT, like many trusts across the country, faces significant financial challenge.
“To address this challenge in year we volunteered to be part of the national financial improvement programme and achieved £29.1million of efficiencies including a significant reduction in agency costs for example.
“The focus of this improvement work has been to increase efficiencies across the health care system to ensure every penny we spend goes into patient care.
“At the end of the financial year 2017/18 we had a variance of two per cent against our annual turnover of £630million.
“Our improvement work continues into 2018/19 and we are committed to improving both the quality of care we provide to our patients, and our financial position.”
We have approached the HEFT for comment.