BSUH placed in financial special measures

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUH) has been placed in financial special measures by NHS Improvement.

The BSUH Board informed NHS Improvement that it was no longer credible to report that it would meet its agreed end-of-year deficit of £15.6m. At the start of the financial year, every Trust had to agree a deficit they would meet by the end of the year, called the “control total”, and could be placed into financial special measures if it became clear that it will not meet this control total by a significant margin. BSUH will now receive additional support by NHS Improvement to help achieve financially sustainable services after it was announced the Trust would be placed into financial special measures.

The support Trusts in financial special measures gets varies depending on their circumstances but generally it means:

• A financial improvement director will be appointed by NHS Improvement to work with the Trust;
• The Trust will no longer have autonomy over key spending decisions;
• NHS Improvement will have control of applications for Department of Health financing;
• The Trust is expected to develop a recovery plan within a month;
• The Trust will be monitored and reviewed regularly.

A Trust can exit financial special measures within one to six months if it can illustrate that there is a robust plan in place, setting out the key changes required to remedy the financial problems, and a detailed delivery plan with evidence of significant improvements within two months of the action plan being developed. If the Trust is unable to do this within six months, NHS Improvement can extend financial special measures for a further three to six months.

Interim Chief Executive Dr Gillian Fairfield said: “The Trust has experienced financial difficulties for several years and we have made it clear to NHS Improvement that it is no longer credible to continue to work towards meeting their agreed end-of-year deficit of £15.5m.

“As a Trust, we could have continued to work towards our control total but we felt it was important to be open and honest about our finances now to ensure the situation did not deteriorate further.

“In order for us to comply with essential quality and safety standards and meet the CQC requirements, as well as meet an increasing demand on our services, it is clear that we now need support to recover our financial position over a realistic timeframe. We are therefore pleased that we are getting that support and we are fully committed to working with NHS Improvement to help us speed up our financial recovery.”

BSUH was placed in special measures for quality in August following the publication of a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report and significant progress has been made in addressing the issues that were raised through a safety and quality plan.

Dr Fairfield said: “It is extremely important that any financial measures introduced must not compromise our ability to deliver safe and effective services or our ability to deliver on our safety and quality improvement plan. We have been making significant progress to address the issues raised by the CQC and it is important that this is maintained and is joined up with the action plan that will be developed for financial special measures. As an organisation, our aim has to be to provide the highest possible standards of care for our patients in a financially sustainable way.”

Read the financial improvement notice issued to BSUH