The trust which runs Grantham Hospital has been put into financial special measures because it faces one of the greatest financial challenges in the NHS.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust is facing a worsening deficit. As a result NHS Improvement will now appoint a director who will work with the Trust on a recovery plan.
ULHT deputy chief executive Kevin Turner said: “The first quarter results show the extent of the financial challenge facing the NHS at the moment. However our own financial position has deteriorated this year,
compared with last, to a point that we face one of the biggest financial challenges in the NHS. We therefore welcome the additional support from NHSI to help us to tackle our deficit and move towards a sustainable position for our services.
“Work is already underway on our financial recovery plan and this week we have appointed external partners to work with us over the next 10 weeks to identify where and how we can make some immediate savings and to set out plans for the future.
“NHS Improvement will now appoint a director to support us to develop our plan and this will enhance the work already started with our external partners. We know that there are many factors which are causing the deficit, which include a lot of our services being less efficient than they could be, staffing gaps that are routinely filled with more expensive temporary (agency) staff, and the challenges of providing services over a large geographical area. Our recovery plans will need to address these factors and more.
“Patient safety remains our top priority and our intention is to ensure that this will be maintained or improved at the same time as reducing cost.”
ULHT is already in special measures after the Care Quality Commission rated it as ‘inadequate’ overall in April this year. The trust had only come out of special measures two years earlier.
At the same time the CQC said Grantham A&E was ‘good’ when it came to being effective, caring, responsive and well-led. But the future of A&E in the town is fragile following the closure of the unit overnight more than a year ago. A preferred option would appear to be an A&E unit open for 16 hours during the day with a nurse-led unit open for eight hours overnight.