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East Kent Hospitals faces increasing financial pressure

Like many hospitals across the country, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust is facing a very challenging financial position with increasing costs, and fewer opportunities to make savings as it invests in the quality and safety of services. These pressures leave the Trust facing a predicted budget deficit of over £37 million this year if it takes no action.

Responding to the challenge the Trust Board, under its new Chair, Nikki Cole, and Interim CEO, Chris Bown, is working with the regulator, Monitor, to produce a short term financial recovery plan to move towards reducing the predicted deficit this year and a long term plan to secure clinically and financially sustainable services over the next three to five years. In addition, the Trust is required to submit an A&E improvement plan by the end of August, which must be agreed with the Clinical Commissioning Groups and other health and social care partners.

Director of Finance Nick Gerrard said, “The Trust’s financial position is in no way related to the recent CQC inspection. In common with most acute hospitals, we are facing huge financial pressures. For example, a national shortage of doctors and nurses makes it difficult to recruit permanent staff in some areas, which means that to provide safe services to patients on our multiple sites we have to employ very expensive agency staff.

We recognise we have to take action and we are working with our staff to look at ways we can provide services more efficiently, to look at how we can become more productive, for example by speeding up our recruitment processes, and at ways we can reduce our expenditure. We will also be benchmarking our services to see how we compare with other similar trusts and if there are any lessons we can learn.”

Nationally Foundation Trusts have seen a dramatic turnaround in their fortunes. Two years ago they delivered a surplus of £500 million, but this year they are predicting a deficit of over £1 billion. 

We recognise we have to take action and we are working with our staff to look at ways we can provide services more efficiently...

Nick Gerrard, Director of Finance

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