Colchester Hospital trust facing £15m of savings & a £25m loan next year

Colchester General Hospital

Colchester General Hospital

The trust running Colchester General Hospital will attempt to make £15million in savings next year.

Colchester Hospital University Foundation NHS Trust (CHUFT) is expecting to post a deficit of £30m in 2015/16 – down on the £45m it would be likely to achieve at current spending rates, but still almost double what it planned for in November last year.

This year the forecast deficit is £21.1m, and the trust also anticipates losing £7.8m in income next year compared to this year.

In 2012/13 the trust recorded a small surplus of £3.7m,

To help it stay afloat as its reserves dwindle the trust is set to ask hospital watchdog Monitor for a cash injection of £25m, via the Department of Health, to help it run services.

Although the trust had already announced plans to borrow money next year, the figure was published in papers ahead of a board meeting on Thursday.

CHUFT plans to achieve the £15m savings by taking a more holistic approach to spending, rather than attempting to cut costs in a “piecemeal” fashion.

Most Read

No specific cost-cutting measures have been published, but the trust is asking staff to take a different approach.

Whereas previously workers were told “regardless of the financial pressures created, focus on quality & safety”, they are now being told “We need to focus on quality & safety AND financial sustainability”.

Dr Tom Nutt, chief executive officer of Healthwatch Essex, said: “It is inevitably a concern to see an NHS hospital in such a difficult financial situation, and it is important that the trust does not compromise the quality or safety of patient care.

“But we also know that good quality care can cost less. By engaging with, and listening to patients, it may be possible to develop models of care that better meet people’s needs and save money.”

Dr Lucy Moore, CHUFT’s interim chief executive, said she did not want to comment on the finance plans ahead of the board meeting.