THE Royal Bolton Hospital has to make £73 million of cuts over the next five years.

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust must make savings of five per cent annually as well as diverting cash to the new integrated health and social care fund.

It is not yet clear if the cuts — which are affecting all foundation trusts — will result in job losses.

But Trust finance chiefs insist the organisation is in good financial health and say they are confident the savings can be achieved.

They have urged patients not to be alarmed by the huge sum.

Simon Worthington, finance director at the Royal Bolton Hospital, said: “This figure is part of our long-term plan for the trust.

“It is an enormous number but it is just the same as any other trust in the country.

“Bolton is not in anyway unusual. It’s a big challenge but it’s the challenge facing the NHS as a whole.”

The Royal Bolton must save £14 million out of its annual budget of £280 million starting from the next financial year (2013/14).

In total this will be about £73 million over the next five financial years.

The trust also has to factor in the impact of the Better Care Fund set to come into force in 2015/16.

This will see some trusts funding pooled into a new intergrated health and social care budget.

Mr Worthington added: “It is about changing the way services are provided and reducing the demand on hospitals. The theory behind the Better Care Fund is that the current demand will be reduced.

“But it does mean that income for the hospital will also be reduced over time by a degree — not by a massive amount.

“There’s a lot of focus on it and an awful lot of activity has gone into the process.”

According to latest monthly finance report, the trust is ahead of plan and will hit its target deficit of £7.8 million by the end of March.

It reported a surplus of £1 million in January.

Yet trust bosses have warned that next year will be a challenge.

Trust chairman, David Wakefield, said: ”After we were losing £1.5 million per month this time last year — to be making a surplus is nothing short of miraculous.

“Next year is going to be horrendous for everyone, not just us. But it just goes to show we are bucking the trend.”