Manor Hospital bosses must watch spending

Hospital chiefs have vowed to tackle their spending after racking up a deficit of £1.7 million more than planned within months.

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the Manor Hospital, had a deficit of £2.364m at the end of June, against its target of £645,000, latest figures to the board revealed.

The financial situation was worse than in April and May when it was £1.2m higher than predicted.

See also: £100k to tackle new hospital computer system at Walsall Manor Hospital.

The trust has highlighted emergency admission pressures and the need to use temporary staff among amongst the reasons. Bosses say steps are now being taken to tackle the financial issue.

They had only been able to identify £8m of the £10.7m savings needed to made as part of the cost-improvement programme in April, which further compounded the problem.

In a report to the board, chief executive Richard Kirby said: "Our financial position is a key cause for concern at the end of the first quarter.

"Continued use of extra capacity and extra operating sessions to meet demand and a slow start to the delivery of our cost improvement programme have resulted in a £2.4m deficit at the end of June, which is £1.7m worse than planned.

"All the trust's divisions are working on plans to reduce their rate of expenditure consistent with delivering our objectives for our patients to ensure that we improve our position."

He added that a detailed forecast for the rest of the year was being prepared.

It comes after it recently the bill for agency staff at the Manor rose by more than £250,000 in a month.

It increased to £721,000 as the overall cost of temporary workers shot up to £1.6 million throughout June.

The combined level of expenditure on agency, bank and locum staff has continually risen since the start of the financial year. Despite the huge rise in agency workers the amount spent on bank and locums had reduced.

It recently emerged nationally that NHS hospitals are so short staffed on public holidays they are paying almost £150 an hour for nurses to work. On May Day Bank Holiday this year a locum agency was paid more than £1,800 to supply a nurse for a 12-hour shift in Bristol.

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust is recruiting 70 nurses to help cope with demand on services with rising number of patients coming from Staffordshire. The majority are due to be in place within the next few months.