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Wye Valley NHS Trust can’t count on nearly £10m of funding coming its way
CASH-strapped Wye Valley NHS Trust (WVT) can’t count on nearly £10m of lifeline funding coming its way as it fights for survival.
The Trust board was warned this week that the financial support on which WVT’s present and future budget plans depend can “no longer be assumed.”
Without that support and facing a £15m deficit WVT - which provides acute and community healthcare services across the county - is already on course for an overspend of at least £9m on this year’s budget alone.
Two new “extreme risks” facing the Trust have been put to the board:
• An inability to manage patient flow at Hereford County Hospital (HCH) with peaks in emergency admissions greater than discharge numbers, squeezing A&E space.
• An inability to sustain some maternity services within an expected standard. To ensure a safe skill mix within the delivery suite community staff, managers and specialist midwives are having to be redeployed.
WVT is already at “extreme risk” not meeting Care Quality Commission standards when HCH’s day surgery unit is used as an inpatient area at times of during high emergency flow.
The Trust has again failed - if only just - to meet the national four hour emergency department access target because of high bed occupancy and A&E attendance.
Though A&E attendances reduced slightly over August, the average per day remains high at 138 compared to the daily capacity of 125. The number of actual daily attendances in the month ranged from 115 to 174.
August also saw the first day since June where the system was operating within its capacity, with most days marked as above capacity.
But the board heard that the Trust will not be getting any additional resources from a national allocation to help A&E departments cope with increased pressures over winter.
WVT faces a £15m deficit and a threat to its very existence. As previously reported by the Hereford Times, WVT’s present and predicted future financial position means it cannot achieve foundation trust (FT) status by next year as currently required by the government.
WVT is reliant on some £9.7m in regional support to ease the strain on finances and resources. That support has been factored into present and future budget plans.
The latest board report, however, warned that receipt of that £9.7m can no longer be assumed. The Trust’s interim CEO and Director of Finance met recently with the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA) for talks on the forecast deficit and options available.
With the Trust waiting on a formal response from the TDA, a temporary borrowing limit of £9.7m, phased over the remaining months of the financial year, is needed to keep up adequate working capital. The Trust has also submitted a bid for permanent cash funding to cover the deficit.
Without the assumption of £9.7m in financial support the Trust’s year to date deficit increased to £4.8m, with an in month deficit of £1.1m.
That £1.1m was some £400k more than the forecast position. As a result, the Trust was £5.78m behind plan, £4m of which related to the support assumption.
Against this background, WVT has to deliver a “critical” £8.8m in savings also factored into its outturn forecast. Schemes totalling £6.9m have been implemented so far with schemes worth another near £2m identified.
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