TWO health trusts have revealed they finished the end of 2013 under-budget.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust ended December with a £2.1m surplus and County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust was £2m within its budget.
Bosses at North Tees and Hartlepool trust say they also plan to meet their target budget for the end of the financial year, at the end of March, with a surplus of £2.9m.
But they have warned that funding cuts remain a challenge with “no end in sight” and staff are expected to do more with the same or less money while maintaining patient safety and quality services.
In 2011 the hospital launched a £40m Challenge to make the savings from its £260m budget over the following three years. Since then, a total of £45.65m has been saved.
It comes after the hospital regulator Monitor found 38 hospital trusts were running up deficits at the end of the year, while 31 other trusts were ending the year over budget.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Alan Foster said: “Our biggest challenge continues to be the service improvement and efficiency programme.
“However we have achieved £10m, 73 per cent of the total required this year recurrently.
“With the position of the wider economy there is no end in sight for year-on-year efficiencies. We are now expected to do more with the same or less while not compromising patient safety or quality.
“We are looking at different ways of working if we are to continue to make the savings required.”
A spokesman for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, which treats people from East Durham, said: “County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust expects to deliver its financial plan as agreed with its regulator Monitor, which is a modest surplus of £2m, despite the significant pressures the trust has faced.
“The trust needs to deliver a surplus in order to generate funding for capital investment to maintain and develop the services it provides to its patients.”