Trust at risk of further debt

conquest hospital
conquest hospital

THE hospital trust is at risk of plunging deeper into debt before the end of its current financial year next March.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT), which runs both the Conquest and DGH in Eastbourne, faces heavy fines for not meeting its targets in controlling the number of cases of the bug Clostridium Difficile (C-diff) in wards.

It had a target of 25 C-diff cases for the current year, which started on April 1 and ends on March 31, 2014.

So far there have been 30, meaning ESHT will be fined £44,000 for each of the five breaches, totalling £220,000.

There were also 10 mixed sex accommodation breaches in September. For each breach the trust is fined £250.

Vanessa Harris, ESHT’s director of finance, said at a trust board meeting on Wednesday (November 27) that since April the organisation had received £24 million in loans from the Government’s Department of Health to help clear debts, pay off creditors and help balance the books.

ESHT is also applying for a further £4 million from the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA) and will hear in January if it has been successful.

Mrs Harris said the trust’s current debt stood at £19.4 million. In October alone ESHT amassed a £2.7 million deficit.

She added: “October was not a good month for us. We had more costs to meet in October than we had hoped for, particularly in agency, overtime and ad hoc services.

“We have had two temporary loans from the Department of Health, £15 million in June and £9 million in October.

“We will know if we have been successful in applying for an additional £4 million from the TDA in January.”