Hospital’s finance fears

CONCERNS have been raised about whether Scarborough Hospital will be able to meet its final loan repayment to the Department of Health.

A recent report shows that at this point in the financial year the trust has only saved £56,000 against a target of £471,000.

The organisation needs to end the year with a surplus of £1.88 million in order to pay back the fourth and final instalment of a £7.8m loan.

The report was presented during a trust board meeting at Scarborough Hospital by finance director Bernard Chalk.

He said he was confident that the savings could be made, but added that there were significant challenges ahead.

However, Michael Sweet, a visiting non-executive director from York Hospital, said the current financial situation would “worry him immensely”.

He added: “I hope you’re going to do it, but at the moment I can’t see how you’re going to.”

Mr Chalk explained that the principal financial concerns were medical locum costs, nursing costs and the delivery of cost improvement targets.

Corrective actions being taken include:

l tighter controls on nursing staffing.

l a plan to resolve some of the more expensive and longer term locum positions. A report on specific actions will be presented next month.

l a new three-year efficiency plan with support from York Hospital.

Non-executive director Martin Narey told the meeting: “I welcome the discussion about cost improvement programmes next month.

“I would like to understand more about why you’re confident that we’re going to make it.”

Teresa Fenech, director of strategy and planning, added: “We need to look at the longer term and it’s important to discuss what we need to do by October.”

The next public meeting is on October 25.