Financial Performance Update
The 2017/18 financial year has now closed, and we can report that the Trust ended the year with a £23m deficit.
Last year was, without a doubt, the most financially challenging in our history, and we cannot ignore that fact that we ended the year £14m adrift of our original planned deficit of £9m, and therefore missed out on our fair share of sustainability funding. However we have delivered in full our efficiency programme, achieving a total of £23.3m, which is £0.5m over our original target.
It is worth recognising that last year was the 8th year of efficiency requirements at this level, and the efforts of those directorates who contributed to this achievement should be applauded. Unfortunately, the recurrent portion of this was only a little over 40%, which means the non-recurrent requirement will roll over into this year.
One of the key pressures on our finances was staffing spend. Agency use remained high at £18m, and a number of decisions were made in-year to strengthen staffing numbers in key areas in order to improve the safety of these services.
At the end of August we had a deficit of £20m, and our projections for the remainder of the year were pointing towards a £40m deficit if significant remedial action was not taken. As a result we began working with NHS Improvement on our financial position and on the development and implementation of our Financial Recovery Plan. This resulted in a year-end improvement of £17m against our August projections, and our ability to hold the line and arrest our financial deterioration to this extent has been received positively by NHS Improvement.
Now we are in the new financial year, the outlook has not materially changed. We are working with NHS Improvement to agree a deliverable control total and access to sustainability funding, but it is very clear from these discussions and from wider NHS planning that current financial control and discipline will have to remain. Specifically this means delivery of our new efficiency targets, expenditure and budgetary control, and scrutiny over any and all discretionary spend.