Health chiefs’ cash worries

Have your say

HOSPITAL chiefs in Wigan have missed saving targets by more than £500,000 so far this year after millions of pounds were axed from their budget.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust recorded a deficit of £47,000 for the first three months of 2011/12, against a plan to have made a surplus of £497,000 by that point, according to its latest finance report.

The Trust remained in deficit for the year-to-date despite making a £1.9m surplus in June – £1.3m above the surplus it planned to make in that month, board papers state.

Bosses at WWL NHS Foundation Trust today blamed soaring costs for the worrying figures and pledged to continue to look at ways to improve efficiency.

A statement from the Trust said: “Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust is facing the same pressures that the entire NHS and public sector face in terms of public funding.

“The Trust did show a shortfall at the start of 2011/12, which was driven by increasing costs over and above income improvements.

“Ongoing, the Trust is looking at all ways to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Plans are in development to achieve £13.8m efficiency improvements within the annual plan which combine service developments, redesign and other efficiency measures in all areas of the Trust.

“The Trust is working closely with the local Commissioners and Health Providers to ensure financial sustainability is maintained, while delivering its goal of delivering the most safe, effective and caring patient healthcare possible.”

Healthcare providers across the borough have announced swingeing budget cuts this year.

WWL NHS Foundation Trust must save £13.8m before April next year in ongoing Government cutbacks, with 200 jobs set to be axed.

And Ashton, Leigh and Wigan Primary Care Trust (PCT) is also having to save £13.4m this financial year. However the PCT has also missed saving targets so far this year after spending £116,000 more than planned just two months into 2011/12. Meanwhile, Ashton, Leigh and Wigan Community Healthcare (ALWCH) Trust has had almost eight per cent of its budget slashed for 2011/12.