Western Trust £6m deficit

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The Western Trust will end this financial year with a deficit of more than £6 million, the Journal can reveal.

The announcement was made yesterday at the monthly meeting of the Western Health and Social Care Trust Board.

Mrs Lesley Mitchell, director of Finance and Contracting presented the draft accounts for the year ending March 31 2015 which resulted in a £6,640,000 deficit.

While the board said the deficit was not good news, it was an improvement on the £8.5m deficit that had been estimated in April.

The board was told that the deficit had been caused by a number of factors which included extra spending on medical locums, domiciliary care, increased costs in looking after children, recruitment of eight social workers, and the delay in the tender of domiciliary care.

However Gerald Guckian chairman, who was chairing his last meeting said that while the figure was unwelcome they were all aware of what it was all about.

“When there’s an overspend there’s tendency to think it was caused by a lack of planning,” he said,

“Nothing could be further from the truth.

“We have had thorough planning and tried to control every aspect of our expenditure but we will not compromise patient safety.

“The money has not been misspent, we can stand over and justify it fully.”

Chief Executive Elaine Way said is was important to look at the deficit and the fact that it relates to just 1% of the entire spend.

Gerald Guckian said: “Effectively we have been asked to land an aeroplane on a postage stamp,” he said.

“In terms of budget we do all we can to break even and fulfil our statutory duty but we are where we are.

“We have to provide health and social care to the community.”