Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust 'worst financial deficit' of any NHS trust in England
In June last year, the health watchdog 'NHS Improvement' said it had "serious concerns" over a Lancashire hospital trust's finances after it predicted a £44m rise in its deficit. Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust's budget was forecast to rise from £2.8m in 2015 to £46.8m this year .
Health regulator Monitor, now renamed NHS Improvement (NHSI) said it was appointing a financial director after the "biggest deterioration" of any NHS foundation trust in England.The probe into the Lancashire foundation trust found it lacked "both the robust plans and financial management" needed to address a "deepening hole" in its finances. So NHSI said they'd assigned a new financial improvement director to scrutinise the trust and will "hold it to account for making progress".
The regulator amended the trust's licence which will see its leadership team changed if it fails to make the changes required.
■ Sadly, the same leadership team are still leading the trust, but unfortunately, leading it just a little further down the road of privatisation.
A trust spokeswoman said a rising number of patients had been placing a bigger strain on its finances as extra beds and staff - including agency workers - were needed to cope with demand. Cancelled surgery due to a shortage of beds left the trust out of pocket as it had to pay for extra clinics and "outsource" operations to other trusts.
The trust also received less government funding for some specialist services. But that's part and parcel of a trust wanting foundation trust status, isn't it?
Karen Partington, chief executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said she was committed to complying with NHSI' actions.
She added: "I'm confident that we'll be able to take the necessary action to demonstrate that we can manage our finances now and for the future."
■ She did, in fact she was so confident she recommended closing the A&E at Chorley and privatising the Urgent Care Centre on the same site. Both recommendations have now been carried out, leaving Chorley & south Ribble folk with a plaster post run for profit.
Closure of the A&E meant a loss of tariff for the procedures carried out there, but these couldn't be passed on via the Urgent Care Centre so to minimise financial loss they sold the day to day management of the clinic plus other services to a private buyer. The contract went out to tender via the CCG's and is valued at between £32m - £35m
So if the regulator can't change the leadership, who can?
■ I know one thing, if I had my way I'd boot the lot of them out and replace them with people who understand how to run an open and transparent health service, serving the public and run by the public.