Whittington Hospital faces £16m in cuts over next year

The Whittington Hospital will see significant cuts imposed over the next year

The Whittington Hospital will see significant cuts imposed over the next year - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

The trust in charge of the Whittington Hospital faces a mountain to climb as it commits to making £16.5million of cuts over the next year – after seeing an unexpected deficit of over £7million.

Whittington Health admitted it has “significant financial challenges” ahead as it seeks to make heavy cuts and savings in the Archway hospital’s acute and cancer care, as well as its surgical department.

The trust board had intended to break-even by the end of the 2014/15 financial year but this month reported a £7.3m deficit – after what the deputy finance director Ursula Grueger said had been a position “underpinned by non-recurrent resources”.

It now predicted to the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA) a deficit of £19.5m by the end of 2015/16, but said it hoped it would be “no greater than £14.5m”.

The figures are reliant on the trust making savings of £16.5m over the same period – more than £2m of which is intended to come from the Integrated Care and Acute Medicine (ICAM) department, which includes the hospital’s A&E.

The Trust has been struggling to balance its finances for some time now. It was just over two years ago that the trust’s previous administration prompted thousands of people to march in the streets after it proposed cuts to beds and a sell-off of hospital buildings in a bid to save money.

The protests forced bosses of the hospital in Archway to abandon its plans.

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Today, a new Whittington Health board met and discussed in detail its current and projected financial position.

Simon Pleydell, chief executive of Whittington Health, said in his report to the board: “We face a challenging financial plan. We believe this is a realistic plan that can be delivered and will improve the run rate of the Trust and move us closer to achieving financial balance.

“This will include maximising our income, not overspending on agreed budgets, maintaining quality and delivering our savings programme in the future.”

A spokesman for Whittington Health added: “This year the Trust enters a challenging year financially with a £7.3m deficit for last year and a planned deficit of £19.5m for 2015/16.

“Being financially stable is an absolute priority for the Trust, alongside the delivery of safe and high quality care for our patients.

“The Trust has a dedicated team whose focus is delivering clinical and financial sustainability, alongside delivering innovative new models of integrated care between the hospital and community.”