ROYAL Bolton Hospital is already battling a deficit just a month into the financial year.

Figures put before the hospital's trust board members last week showed a deficit of more than £2 million on the hospital's books.

Alan Stuttard, financial director, presented the report to the board and said the main reason for the building deficit was because planned savings by the hospital were not materialising.

The hospital is posting a £2.6 million deficit said Mr Stuttard's report, over and above the planned deficit of £1.8 million.

Mr Stuttard said: "There's a slight deficit in month one although the main part of that was the ICIP (income cost improvement programme).

"There's an £800,000 shortfall against plan for month one."

Around £400,000 of the unplanned deficit is a result of the missed ICIP savings at the hospital.

The hospital is trying to make £15.6 million pounds of savings this year through its ICIP, which tasks different departments with making their own internal efficieny savings.

Mr Stuttard's report notes "a number of risks are starting to materialise" and that the hospital is already planning mitigations to avoid ending the year over budget.

Mr Stuttard also noted that the recent bank holidays were likely to have an impact on the hospital's income, though he did not expect it to be a "major" issue.

The hospital is also looking at historical debts left on its books of £1.9 million. These are debts more than 60 days old said Mr Stuttard.

He said: "Half is over 240 days.

"There's more to understand if that is recoverable or if it can be offset."

For the last few months the hospital has been seeing an increase in the number of people using its cancer referral service from outside of Bolton.

This has put pressure on the hospital's teams who try to meet waiting time targets however Mr Stuttard said it could soon also have a financial impact as more and more people come to the hospital to be assessed.