Western Trust’s £11m year deficit

Western Health and Social Care Trust Headquarters in Derry. DER4414MC074
Western Health and Social Care Trust Headquarters in Derry. DER4414MC074

The Western Health and Social Care Trust’s Board has projected that there will be an £11.1m deficit in its budget by the end of the financial year.

The figure was revealed in a Financial report for the month to the end of October 2016 presented to the board by the Western Trust’s Director of Finance Lesley Mitchell at its December meeting.

Ms. Mitchell told the board that discussions were continuing with Department of Health officials on the financial position.

She also said that the deficit had to be taken in the context of an overall Trust budget of £600m for the year ending on March 31, 2017.

The board was told that £2m of the deficit related to pressures resulting from the increased numbers of children in care within the Trust.

The mounting cost of medical agency staff has also been a major factor in eating into the Trust’s budget.

She added that the position as of October 31 was that the deficit stood at £8m.

Ms Mitchell said that there had been progress made since the beginning of the year of Trust efficiencies, but said that further contingency plans for £2.5m of savings have now been requested.

Ms Mitchell said that the reasons for the deficit were well understood, and said it was her view that there was an acceptance among health authorities that the Trust would not break even this year.

“We have been very open and clear about the reasons for the deficit,” she said.

Chief Executive Elaine Way said that the spend on medical locums was a major factor. She also cautioned that while the causes were understood, the Trust should “still do everything we can to ensure we are as efficient as possible”.

Trust Chairman Niall Birthistle commended the good work of those involved in the negotiations.