Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust reports strong financial performance

Northumberland and North Tyneside’s hospitals trust invested £32million in new buildings and equipment last year, as well as cutting almost £30million.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 18th July 2019, 4:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 8:05 pm

In 2018-19, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust had a net surplus of £9.2million.

This figure includes a number of exceptional items totalling £24million, so the overall control surplus as measured by NHS Improvement was £33.6million, which meant the trust had the 12th strongest financial position of all 230 NHS providers in the country.

At Wednesday’s (July 17) annual members’ meeting of Northumbria Healthcare, chief executive Sir James Mackey said: “Some of you will remember that at this time last year, we had quite a hard first quarter and we had a lot of recovery to do in quarters two and three, so I think that’s an exceptional performance in the circumstances.”

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Sir James Mackey, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

There were total savings made of £29.4million against a plan for £30.5million, with the ‘small adverse delivery’ for the year linked mainly to slippage around ward closures given the pressures around rising activity.

“That’s a fantastic achievement delivering around £30million of efficiencies,” Sir James said.

“In my first year as chief exec in Northumbria, we had real pain trying to get from a £3million to a £7million cost reduction so to put that in context, we’ve grown quite a bit since then, but we’ve really had to gear up our efficiencies programme over the last few years to stay on top of our investment appetite and deliver our overall ambition.”

At its AGM last year, the trust announced plans to invest £150million in buildings, IT infrastructure and equipment over the next five years and during 2018-19, £32.3million was spent.

The new £15.6million ambulatory care unit at the Northumbria – to treat patients who do not need to be admitted – has been opened, while plans are progressing for the new £25million hospital on the Berwick Infirmary site.

So far, £5million has been spent on new equipment, including replacing the CT scanner at Hexham, a new X-ray room at Alnwick and an extra CT scanner and ultrasound suite at Wansbeck, with another £10million invested in IT and £3million to reduce the trust’s environmental impact.

The trust also maintained its financial risk rating of one (best) and had a year-end cash balance of £61.2million.

For the first quarter of 2019-20, the financial performance was in line with a revised control surplus of £4.5million, with £24.4million forecast for the year in line with the annual control total.

There is a cost reduction target of £16.2million for the current year, which is almost half of what was delivered in 2018-19.

But Sir James said: “It’s very important that we deliver that so we can generate the cash we need for capital investment.”