Hospital trust breaks even after handout

HOSPITAL bosses have balanced their books this year, thanks to a handout of more than £16 million.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the Conquest and Eastbourne DGH, was hoping to start the new financial year on April 1 with an extra £2.8 million in its coffers.

But because of increased activity over the last 12 months, with more patients being treated, compared to last year, it has broken even.

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Vanessa Harris, the trust’s director of finance, gave the news at Wednesday’s board meeting.

She said: “Although there was an improvement last month in the financial position it is now very unlikely that the trust can achieve its planned surplus of £2.8 million and the forecast has been revised for us to break even.”

The trust received £16.1 million earlier this year from the local Primary Care Trust (PCT).

Both hospitals saw a 1.5 per cent rise in the number of patients, compared to the period from March 2011 to March last year.

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From March 2011 to March 2012 a total of 85,946 people were treated as in-patients across both the Conquest and DGH. This year the total was 87,229.

Mrs Harris said there had been overspends on agency costs, which stood at £8.3 millio, as well as on specialist high cost drugs for patients.

In March last year health bosses received a £14 million bail-out to help clear mammoth debts accrued over the previous 12 months.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust was forced to go cap in hand to the PCT and ask for the cash.