CASH-strapped Wye Valley NHS Trust (WVT) is ready to fight for a future on its own terms helped by a cash boost that means it can break even by the end of the current financial year.
The Hereford Times can confirm that the Trust Board is ready to reject a range of options explored over the past year to secure the Trust’s future.
WVT chief executive Derek Smith said that, after extensive analysis, none of the options were likely to be approved by the NHS nationally.
Now, the focus of the Trust shifts to securing short-term survival. Confirmation of £9m coming from the Trust Development Agency (TDA) means WVT,, facing a £15m deficit without support, can end the financial year at break even.
That £9m is money the Trust does not have to pay back.
The Trust is also ready to go into talks with the TDA and Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) over what the short to medium term may mean in terms of services and finances.
WVT faced a merger, break up, or even private sector management to cope with a funding crisis that means it cannot achieve foundation trust status this year, as required by the government.
As explored and rejected, the options to meet Trust Foundation status included: WVT becoming the junior partner of a trust which has already attained foundation trust status, while keeping local accountability.
Partnership with a private organisation with WVT run as a local franchise where all staff and assets would remain in the NHS and care free at the point of delivery.
A break up with the trust’s services run by a range of public and private sector providers.
The inclusion of primary care services such as GPs in the trust, creating a “one-stop shop” for health.
Increasing the number of patients WVT serves with a subsequent increase in income.
The Hereford Times has reported extensively on the Trust’s financial situation and need for support in facing a £15m deficit. Without support, the Trust was on course for an overspend of at least £9m on this year’s budget.
WVT has required increasing levels of financial support over recent years just to reach a break even position, with £9.8m needed over 2012/13 alone.
In 2012 the Trust was declared as in “turnaround” to emphasise the urgency and scale of the financial challenges it faced.
The Trust’s financial outlook means it cannot achieve foundation trust status by a government imposed deadline next year or any time in the foreseeable future.
Each option to offer an alternative was subject to testing and financial modelling to establish whether they were financially viable as well as clinically appropriate. This work took place in the latter half of last year. Today, WVT confirmed that none of the options met the stringent criteria upon which NHS approval depends.
“Our team has looked long and hard at the available options but has concluded that none would give financial stability to the long-term future of the Trust, which is what we’ve been tasked to do, and they also fail to deliver a business case that is robust enough to meet national NHS requirements, “ said Mr Smith.
“While this is disappointing, it is our view, and that of our NHS colleagues, that we must look again at where and how we can address the finances of the Trust while at the same time ensuring patient care is kept at the very highest standard,” he said.
The Trust will now go into talks over a short to medium term strategy with the TDA and CCG. The Trust is working particularly closely with CCG in its review of the services it commissions for county patients.
Feedback from the option consultation process will find a place in the Trust’s five-year plan.