Hospital loan is £6m less than forecast
8:57am Tuesday 19th March 2013 in Local
ROYAL Bolton Hospital bosses have revealed they will need to borrow almost £6 million less than they had originally forecast.
The struggling Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, which is now more than £14.5 million in debt, has had to borrow cash from the Department of Health to pay bills and staff wages this year.
But after financial improvements, trust chiefs say they will have borrowed £11 million rather than the £16.8 million predicted.
The trust first borrowed money from the Department of Health after health watchdog Monitor intervened in August following a damning report on financial failings.
It came after £3.8 million was “unaccounted for”, which is thought to have been caused by misreporting of savings.
An interim chairman was appointed and a team of financial experts from Deloitte was brought in to examine the trust’s finances and make savings.
Each month, the trust has lost between £1.5 million and £1.7 million and it has forecast its debt to be £18.6 million by the end of the financial year. On top of this debt, the trust has also borrowed £11 million from the Department of Health, which will need to be repaid. Chiefs also need to make savings of £50 million in the next three years due to Government spending cuts.
Interim chairman David Wakefield told governors that the amount they would need to borrow had been reduced.
He said: “Although we are still in debt and still borrowing money, we are going to borrow £6 million less than we thought.
“We are doing better than we thought. It is still awful as we are in debt, but things are getting better.”
The hospital’s head of communications, Heather Edwards, said: “This is good news as it reduces the amount of money that we may need to repay to the Department of Health at some point in the future.”
Cllr Andy Morgan, who sits on Bolton Council’s health scrutiny committee, said it was good news, but added: “There is still the issue of how they will address the £11 million without affecting patient care.”
Dr Wirin Bhatiani, chairman of Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is good to hear that the foundation trust needs to borrow less money than it had forecast.”
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