Largest NHS trust gets finance help

Barts Health NHS Trust calls in finance help squad

The Trust is paying £115m a year for the brand new Royal London hospital site

England’s largest hospital trust is to name in a expert squad to aid it tackle its “biggest ever financial challenge”.

Sources at Barts Health NHS Trust have told BBC London if the trust did nothing it can face being taken over by outside administrators.

The trust had planned to avoid wasting £77m this financial year but after three months it’s already £15m behind its target.

It is already talking about cutting about 1,000 posts.

One of its biggest problems is the massive bill this is purchasing the recent Royal London Hospital site in Whitechapel.

Opened in February by the Queen, it was a part of a £1bn private finance initiative and paying back that PFI is costing the Trust £115m a year.

‘Not in administration’

The Trust has a turnover of £1.25bn and a workforce of 15,000.

Sources told BBC London that specialist teams from the NHS Trust Development Authority would start work on the Trust on Thursday.

They will discuss with all clinical groups and think about how to economize.

Sources stressed that any changes to services would only go ahead if a robust clinical and safety case was made for them. They said care and quality weren’t negotiable.

They admitted though that it was possible that some services could be moved around to attempt to economize, but said the choice to name in outside help was necessary to help get the trust “back on course”.

In a press release, the trust said: “We want to be clear that Barts Health will never be in administration.

“Having not met our own financial targets for the primary quarter of the financial year, we’ve got, with immediate effect, placed ourselves in financial turnaround.

“Financial turnaround has not been imposed on us, and by taking this decision proactively and on the earliest possible opportunity, we believe we have now acted responsibly to secure our long-term financial viability, allowing us to continue to supply world-class healthcare to the folk of east London and beyond.”

A NHS Trust Development Authority spokesperson said: “They’ve alerted us that they have got fallen behind on their financial statement within the first quarter of this year and we are able to work with them at the plans to recover their financial position.”

The trust runs the Royal London Hospital, St Bartholomew’s, Whipps Cross, Mile End, London Chest Hospital and Newham University Hospital.