£4.7m debt at the DGH

A SHORTFALL in funding has left hospital chiefs with £4.7 million of debt as they start the new financial year.

Bosses at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Eastbourne DGH and Conquest Hospital in Hastings, failed to secure a £6 million bail-out from the Strategic Health Authority (SHA), which holds the purse strings for NHS Trusts.

This would have wiped clean its £6 million debt, amassed over the last 12 months thanks to overtime payments and the cost of emergency surgeries.

But the hospital Trust had to settle with £1.3 million instead, leaving it with a £4.7 million debt. Hospital managers had planned to start the year with a surplus of £1.7 million surplus.

However managers remained upbeat at their board meeting last Wednesday (April 26).

David Meikle, the Trust’s director of finance, said, “This is an improvement on the £6 million deficit forecast last month. During the last five months of the last financial year the Trust also broke even.” He said the organisation was also seeing far fewer people stuck needlessly in hospital, unlike four years ago when the weekly figures were almost 100.

Maurice Rumbold, non-executive director, said this had been a ‘huge achievement’.

Darren Grayson, Trust chief executive, said the £4.7 million deficit was ‘disappointing’. He said, “We have demonstrated that we can deliver substantial savings while maintaining or improving the quality of care provided to patients. The hard work and dedication of staff at all levels and in all departments means that our performance in the last year overall improved, compared to the previous year.”