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It’s a tough year for Foundation Trusts

Despite spending less than planned on estates and facilities, Foundation Trusts have plunged deeper into the red according to the latest figures released by health watchdog Monitor.

The report to Monitor’s Board on the performance of the Foundation Trust sector over the six months ended 30th September 2014 revealed that the sector reported a deficit of £254m compared with a planned deficit of £59m. Trusts spent £854m on items such as new facilities and estates, which is £357m less than planned, but spending of £831m on contract and agency staff was double the £377m they had planned. The report also found that Trusts made £492m worth of cost savings, but this was £126m less than planned.

The sector is treating more patients, though: 2.7 million patients received emergency care and more than 490,000 received non-emergency inpatient treatment, an increase of 124,000 and 6,000 respectively compared with the same period last year.

The Foundation Trust sector as a whole is projecting a deficit of £271m at the end of financial year 2014/15: this comprises a gross deficit of £531m at 60 Trusts (£115m worse than planned), offset by a £260m surplus at 87 Trusts (£136m worse than planned).

Monitor Chief Executive David Bennett said: “This is proving to be a tough year for many Foundation Trusts. Funding is rising, but not as quickly as costs are increasing. These are driven by higher demand for healthcare, reflecting an ageing population and more people suffering complex conditions, and also higher staffing levels.
“Nevertheless, Trusts can and need to deliver greater efficiencies while also planning for more significant change over the next two to five years, so that they can continue providing the quality services that patients value.”