MP backs Wye Valley NHS Trust fighting for its future

Hereford Times: MP Jesse Norman. MP Jesse Norman.

A WYE Valley NHS Trust ready to fight for its future is a "huge win" for the county, says Hereford & South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman.

The Hereford Times revealed yesterday (Mon) that the Trust was ready to reject a range of options explored over the past year to secure that  future. The Trust Board is expected to make the final decision when it meets on Thursday.

Mr Norman has been opposed to the options from the off.

"Ever since this process started the Trust management and I have been arguing that there were no benefits to be gained from the options, " said Mr Norman.

"We are not out of the woods yet, the funding formula is still grossly inequitable; the PFI contract is a massive burden; and we need a multi-year funding agreement on the Hospital's deficit to allow the management to put in place longer-term plans," he said.

Backed by a cash boost that means it can break even by the end of the current financial year, the cash-strapped Trust  can now fight for a future on its own terms.

WVT chief executive Derek Smith says that, after extensive analysis, none of the options were likely to be approved by the NHS nationally.

Now, the focus of the Trust shifts to securing short-term survival. Confirmation of £9m coming from the Trust Development Agency (TDA) means WVT, facing a £15m deficit without support, can end the financial year at break even.

The Trust is also ready to go into talks with the TDA and Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) over what the short to medium term may mean in terms of services and finances.

On-going funding issues - previously reported by the Hereford Times - mean WVT cannot achieve foundation trust (FT) status this year, as required by the government.

Without support the Trust was on course for an overspend of at least £9m on this year’s budget.

The Trust required increasing levels of support over recent years just to reach a break even position, with £9.8m needed over 2012/13 alone.

In 2012 the Trust was declared as in “turnaround” to emphasise the urgency and scale of the financial challenges it faced.

Under the options, WVT faced a merger with an existing  FT, a break up with services run by a range of public and private sector providers, or a future as private sector franchise.

Over the latter half of last year each option was tested as to its financial liability. The Trust board will hear on Thursday  that none of the options met the stringent criteria for NHS approval.

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