King’s College Hospital Trust on track to hit record overspend – again

Katherine Johnston (10 April, 2019) Health

'Despite the financial challenges, the trust continues to deliver excellent, high-quality care and services to patients'

23053King's College Hospital emergency department

King’s College Hospital Trust could overspend by as much as £191 million by the end of the 2018-19 financial year, according to reports.

The trust, which was placed in financial special measures due to its spiralling deficit, has more than doubled its overspend within months.

This will be the largest overspend in history – breaking the record already held by the trust.

Last year, it had expected to overspend by £30 million, increasing to £130 million at the beginning of 2019.

According to documents seen by the Guardian and prepared for the trust’s board of directors, the precarious financial situation has worsened after delays to its new critical care unit, not making savings of £8 million as planned, and fines after failing to hit waiting time targets for A&E and planned operations.

A spokesperson for the trust said despite the challenges, the trust’s staff shortages were improving and plans were in place to help ‘stabilise’.

A statement explained: “Our current financial forecast is higher than that planned this time last year.

“However, over the past year, a number of changes have been implemented that will enable the trust to improve its productivity and stabilise its longer term stability.

“Despite the financial challenges, the trust continues to deliver excellent, high-quality care and services to patients.

“Following a number of successful recruitment drives in the last year, King’s has cut its nursing vacancy by half to 7.3 per cent – one of the lowest nursing vacancies rates in London.

“Additionally, a number of recent appointments have been made in areas with higher clinical vacancy rates, such as the Princess Royal University Hospital Emergency Department.”

As the News reported, Guy’s and St Thomas’ chair, Sir Hugh Taylor, has taken over at King’s too, on an interim basis, until January 2021.

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