Investigation into West Suffolk Hospital’s finances closed after projected deficit reduced

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds ANL-150319-095542001
West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds ANL-150319-095542001
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An investigation into West Suffolk Hospital’s finances has been closed after the scale of its projected deficit was reduced.

Health watchdog Monitor launched an investigation last July after the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust ‘failed to deliver its planned savings’ and overspent by about £4 million.

However, the situation has improved with the Trust reducing an £8 million deficit forecast at the end of the financial year to £5.5 million.

Katherine Cawley, Monitor’s regional director for the Midlands and East of England, welcomed the turn around but warned that West Suffolk’s leadership should continue to ‘work hard at securing its long-term financial sustainability by ensuring it has a good understanding of current and future challenges then exploring and implementing ways of overcoming them’.

At the time Trust bosses cited a number of reasons for the deficit including high levels of emergency admissions and delays in discharging patients after hospital treatment.

They say ‘positive’ steps taken to address the challenge include securing funding for a new electronic patient record system, identifying and developing more efficient ways of working with closer integration with partner organisations and creating a ‘robust’ financial recovery plan.

Prof Dr Stephen Dunn, chief executive, said: “We are pleased that we have demonstrated improvements to Monitor and given them the necessary assurances to allow them to close their investigation.

“Increasing levels of emergency activity are still putting our finances under pressure.

“However, we are continuing to work with our partners across the NHS to find ways to control this growth and ensure patients who are fit for discharge can return home more quickly.

“This has helped us buck the national trend and become one of the few acute trusts in the country to reduce its projected deficit as the year has progressed.

“It is important to stress that Monitor had no concerns over the quality of care we provide, and that our performance in all other areas has remained strong, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff.”