MP’s fears for Hartlepool hospital services amid £27m deficit

University Hospital of Hartlepool
University Hospital of Hartlepool

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill says health and social care remain ‘chronically underfunded’ as it is revealed that the local hospital trust has a deficit of more than £27 million.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust had planned to end the last financial year with a surplus of just over £3m.

But at the end of March that figure was £27.69m in deficit, according to figures published by NHS Improvement which oversees hospital trusts.

Mr Hill says the trust has achieved a number of targets by focussing efforts on frontline services, but it is under unfair financial pressure.

He said: “In identifying the need to pump £20 billion into the NHS the Prime Minister may as well admit that health and social care remain chronically underfunded and the situation with North Tees and Hartlepool reflects that.

“Despite all their efforts as a trust to achieve efficiency savings, set by the Department for Health, they remain in deficit for the second year running.

“By prioritising frontline services the trust is achieving many of its targets on the medical front and has one of the highest performing A&Es in the country, but it is clearly under unfair financial pressure and the concern I have is the knock on effect this might have on service provision at Hartlepool hospital.”

It comes as Hartlepool’s clinical commissioning group, which contracts and pays for NHS services, is facing a £14m deficit.

The Improving NHS report, prepared using unaudited draft accounts data, says it has been a challenging year for the NHS nationally.

It stated: “During the second half of the year we saw the continuation of one of the most challenging winter periods that the NHS has had, with demand rising significantly and placing extraordinary pressure on NHS staff. Higher-than-planned levels of A&E activity and high levels of bed occupancy, which affected their ability to admit patients who require planned care, had a further negative impact on finances.

“The sector ended the year with a deficit of £960 million; £464 million above the ambitious plan set for the year, but substantially below the deficit of £1,281 million deficit reported at the end of Quarter Three [October to December].”

Despite the hospital trust’s financial position, it was the second best performing trust in the country for seeing A&E patients within four hours at 97% against a 95% target.

It also beat the 85% target for patients being referred from their GP to receiving cancer treatment within 62 days. And 98.46% of women with breast cancer symptoms were seen within two weeks beating a target of 95%.