Hospital faces 5m debt after PCT invoice delays


18-07-2005

Addenbrooke'S Hospital is overdrawn by millions of pounds.

Figures showing the hospital's financial position up to May 31 reveal it is 4.9 million in the red.



The money was borrowed from the hospital's own bank.



Jeff Buggle, director of finance, told a meeting of the hospital's governors that the situation was due to delays in payments from Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) at a busy time of year.



He said: 'PCTs are normally fairly small organisations and we find the people responsible for paying the invoices are the people doing the end of year activities.



'We are in discussion with PCTs about this.'



A spokeswoman for the hospital said payments had been delayed from a number of PCTs.



'This is across the range of PCTs we work with, locally and regionally,' she said.



'We are working closely with the PCTs to resolve the situation.'



She added the hospital remained 'well within' its overdraft limit and there would be no knock-on effects on services.



But South Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley, shadow health secretary, said if the PCTs continued to suffer from financial problems, it would have an impact on the services Addenbrooke's would be able to offer.



He said: 'I can't say I am entirely surprised by the situation. Quite a number of PCTs which buy services from Addenbrooke's are in deficit and are having serious problems in meeting payments.



'The PCTs are going to try and limit the amount they pay Addenbrooke's to try and limit their deficits.'



Earlier this year, the News reported two local PCTs - Cambridge City PCT and South Cambridgeshire PCT - faced looming deficits.



End-of-year figures for the organisations reveal a 7.4 million overspend at Cambridge City and a 2.5 million overspend at South Cambs.



The PCTs will find out later this month if they have lost out on performance stars awarded by the Healthcare Commission due to their troubled finances.



Last year, Cambridge City was said to have 'significantly underachieved' in the area of financial management and was awarded one star. South Cambs was said to have 'achieved' financial management and was given two stars, out of a maximum of three.



Tom Dutton, director of strategic development at the PCTs, said the PCTs were likely to be given one or no star in this year's national ratings.



Other key figures from the Addenbrooke's financial position report showed there was a 478,000 underspend in hospital budgets from April to May. One significant area of underspend was in pay budgets, which were underspent by 573,000.



The spokeswoman said the figures did not give cause for concern in the context of an annual budget of 290 million.



Addenbrooke's is not the only hospital in the region to be hit by financial problems.



In February, the News revealed Hinchingbrooke Hospital had plunged 4 million into the red. Staff were forced to make cutbacks when all non-essential budgets were suspended until April.



Cost-cutting measures teamed with higher car parking charges and increased prices in the hospital cafe helped the hospital get its finances back on track and reduce its deficit to 200,000.



Patients are also concerned at plans to close Elm ward and move the dedicated stroke unit elsewhere.



Last month, Newmarket Hospital announced cuts aimed at saving 9 million to help the hospital's finances. All in-patient beds at the hospital, in Exning Road, are set to be axed to save 1 million and 90 members of staff could lose their jobs.

 

Cambridge University Hospitals is one of the largest and best known trusts in the country. As the local hospital for our community we deliver care through Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals.

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust