Monitor, the regulator for foundation trusts, is announcing
today that it will be carrying out an investigation into the
Trust's financial position.
We have been working with Monitor for much of this year, so that
they understand the financial challenges we face, the work we are
doing to address them, and how we we can continue to improve our
financial position without having a detrimental effect on the
quality of patient care.
You will be aware of the pressures facing the NHS nationally,
and that over 90% of trusts were in deficit at the half way point
of this financial year.
2014/15 was the first time that County Durham and Darlington FT
ended the year in deficit, having generated surpluses to reinvest
in front line services every year since becoming an FT.
A key challenge is the cost of medical and nursing bank and
agency. This has been a pressure for trusts nationally in
meeting new recommended staffing levels, at a time when unplanned
activity continues to increase.
Steps we have taken include new in house bank arrangements
and recruitment abroad, and these are already having an
impact. The Trust's nurse agency costs are down from £1.33
million in June to £635 thousand in November. There is more
to do, particularly in addressing the cost of medical agency
At the start of the financial year 2015/16, we were forecasting
a £17.6 million deficit at the year end. Care groups and
corporate services have been working hard to improve this position,
and we are on track to achieve savings of over £20 million this
We are now forecasting a reduced deficit, and planning a return
to financial surplus in 2016/17.
We welcome the opportunity to carry out further work with
Monitor as part of this more formal process. During it we
will explore whether there is more we can do to improve our
financial position more quickly while maintaining quality of care
Monitor's statement is reproduced below.
NHS regulator investigating finances of
County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation
Monitor has opened an investigation into the
finances at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation
The trust, which provides a range of acute and
community services to nearly 600,000 people in and around Durham
and Darlington, has predicted a deficit of £14.7 million for
Monitor's investigation will help better understand
the causes of the financial challenge and what support the trust
needs to improve things for its
Paul Chandler, Regional Director at Monitor, said: "We
know the trust, like much of the NHS, is facing a serious financial
challenge but we are going to help find out exactly what they can
do to get a grip of the situation.
"Thousands of people across the region rely on the
services this trust provides, so we will work quickly to determine
what support the trust needs to help ensure the necessary
improvements are made."
No decision has been taken on whether or not
regulatory action will be required, but Monitor will announce the
outcome of its investigation in due course.
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