Hospital trust's £6million loan

Hospital bosses are borrowing £6million from the Government in a bid to clear debts and get finances back on track.

East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Conquest on The Ridge, is struggling to balance the books and has already overspent by 159,000 since April 1 when the new financial year started.

Criticised in March for paying 170,000 to outgoing chief executive Kim Hodgson, the trust has also paid out huge amounts of extra cash on hiring doctors and nurses from outside agencies.

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At the start of this financial year the trust had a surplus of 51,000.

Darren Grayson, trust chief executive, said: "We have had an unseasonably busy time in the last two weeks and we do remain under considerable pressure."

Jayne Black, the trust's deputy director of operations, said: "We have seen an increase over the last month in the number of admissions into A&E and with that comes problems making sure we have appropriate beds.

"We have been working with both the Primary Care Trust (PCT) and social care to get those patients stuck in hospital discharged in a timely fashion.

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"At one point we had more than 50 people attending A&E."

She added: "We have also seen an increase in the number of people requiring intermediate care beds outside hospital and a package of care."

The organisation, which also runs Eastbourne DGH, is aiming to amass 1.5million in spare cash by March 31 next year by making efficency savings in each department.

No redundancies are planned.

But a report, which was discussed at a board meeting on Wednesday, revealed if things remain as they are, the trust could finish the financial year 2.5million in the red.

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Andy Horne, the trust's interim director of finance, said: "In the last week or so we have had significant pressure on beds as length of stay has been higher than planned.

"This has been exacerbated by higher than planned demand for beds from a growth in referrals by GPs and less patients being treated as day cases.

"But in the earlier part of August a significant number of beds were available, particularly at the Conquest.

"The Department of Health has approved our application for a 6million loan over four years but we will have to achieve a surplus at the end of each year to pay it back."