By Ian Dipple 29/06 Updated: 29/06 15:01
THE HEAD of finance at the Trust which runs the Alexandra Hospital has pledged to get a 'vice like grip' of the finances after it was revealed it was in deficit by almost £2million after just two months of the new financial year.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust had expected to be £1.6million in the red by the end of May before turning the situation around and breaking even later in the year.
But a continued surge in emergency admissions at both the Alex and Worcestershire Royal Hospital resulting in a need to spend more on expensive agency staff and delays in achieving efficiency saving targets meant the Trust has missed its target by £300,000.
An action plan has now been put in place to deal with the problem including a review of all agency posts and looking for appropriate funding to cover the costs of the extra capacity needed.
Chris Tidman, finance director at WAHT, assured members of the Trust board they were serious about tackling the situation.
"We are seeing a lot of cost pressures in the system as a result of an increase in emergency admissions that stepped up during the winter period and at this moment has not abated," he said.
"There's a nine to ten per cent increase in emergencies coming through the door and clearly that's not sustainable.
"We need to grip hold of our costs much more tightly - the grip is getting more vice like from this week and we will see some benefits as we move into July."
The Trust is also struggling with a liquidity problem as a £21million working loan from the Government it planned to take out in July to help pay its bills has now been delayed until September meaning other ways of bridging the gap until then are being sought.
Mr Tidman also warned it was getting harder to meet the savings targets it needed to make with just £11million identified so far of the £15million the Trust needs to cut this year.
The surge in emergency admissions is also affecting performance as during May the four hour waiting time in A&E was only hit 89.7 per cent of the time against a target of 95 per cent although in the first three weeks of June it did improve to 93.52 per cent as a result of measures such as adding extra nurses to free up ward sisters to concentrate on patient flow.
The Trust expects to hit the target consistently from August.
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