Hospital trust gets a grip on its finances

Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton
Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton

The Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUH) is no longer in special measures for financial reasons, NHS Improvement said.

The Trust, which runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and the Princess Royal in Haywards Heath, was taken over by the executive team at Western Sussex NHS Foundation Trust last year.

Western Sussex – which runs ‘outstanding’ hospitals in Chichester and Worthing – aimed to stabilise the financial position at BSUH and improve quality and performance after it was rated inadequate by health watchdog the Care Quality Commision (CQC).

Stephen Hay, deputy chief executive and executive director of regulation at NHS Improvement, said: “Under the stewardship of Mike Viggers, Marianne Griffiths and the wider leadership team, the Trust has made significant progress. This represents a major effort from them as well as staff across the Trust but there remains more to do.

“The Trust must now develop a longer term financial plan that reduces its deficit and at the same time remains focused on improving the quality of its services.

“There is strong evidence to show that high quality care and financial grip go hand in hand and the Trust must ensure that improvements in financial management are maintained while continuing to improve the quality and safety of services for local patients.”

NHS Improvement placed the Trust in special measures for financial reasons in October 2016 because of a ‘significant negative deterioration’ from its financial plan for 2016/17.

But since October 2016, NHS Improvement said the Trust has shown improved financial leadership, governance and control of its finances.

BSUH said since the start of the 2017/18 financial year it has reduced its deficit by £13 million, made £20 million of savings across the organisation, and identified a further £30 million of savings for 2018/19.

Chief executive Marianne Griffiths said: “Patient care is our top priority, and the link with sound financial management is undeniable.

“We now have control over our finances and we have achieved this without taking our eye off the goal of delivering excellent patient care. We have also continued to invest in our staff and our facilities during this exceptionally difficult period.

“We still have a distance to go in achieving a balanced budget, but no longer being in special measures for finance is a major milestone on that journey.”

The trust’s projected deficit for the 2018/19 financial year is £55m.

Ms Griffiths added: “We have delivered on the deficit reduction plan we made with NHS Improvement and we will maintain our focus and disciplined approach to financial management.

“All of our staff have had a role to play in today’s announcement, and will continue to be central to our financial sustainability moving forwards. Along with the rest of the board and executive team, I would like to thank them for their efforts to date, and for the continued financial focus that they will bring to decisions moving forwards.

“High quality patient care and strong financial management go hand in hand, and I have no doubt that we will continue to improve on both aspects of life at the trust.”

The Trust remains in special measures for quality following the Care Quality Commission’s inspection report in August 2016 and until the Chief Inspector of Hospitals recommends that it no longer meets the criteria for quality special measures.

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