Boost for Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after regulators lift ‘financial special measures’

The NHS trust which runs Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has been taken out of financial spe

The NHS trust which runs Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has been taken out of financial special measures. Picture: Mike Page - Credit: Mike Page

Plans to expand the region's biggest hospital have moved a step closer after the trust that runs it was lifted out of 'financial special measures'.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH) has been boosted by today's announcement from NHS Improvement, seven months after the regulator stepped in over NNUH's deteriorating financial situation.

The NNUH's deficit spiralled from £9.6m in 2014/15 to £21.9 in 2015/16, and was at one stage forecasting a deficit of more than £30m in 2016/17 - prompting NHS Improvement to step in.

Now the NNUH is expecting to end this financial year with a £25m deficit.

As reported by this newspaper last month trust managers felt confident the organisation would be taken out of financial special measures in the near future.

It follows a drive to reduce costs, for example by closing wards to lessen the use of agency staff.

A total of £25m savings have been identified as a result of being placed in financial special measures.

The announcement by NHS Improvement is significant because the trust was forced to delay its expansion plans when it was placed in financial special measures last July.

Those plans, described as 'crucial' to the NNUH's future, could now be progressed because the NNUH will have greater control over its finances again.

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The plans include building a new day-case centre and creating a bigger emergency department.

Reacting to the news Mark Davies, chief executive of the NNUH, said: 'I would like to thank the staff - they have been brilliant.

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'This is about concentration on the detail and ensuring delivery day in, day out.

'The staff have been nothing short of amazing in their commitment and dedication to achieving this result.

'This has been made possible by the fantastic NNUH team - clinical leaders working hand in hand with their colleagues across the whole trust.

'We have designed and delivered this result together and I congratulate and thank every member of staff at the trust.

'This puts us on an excellent footing for the future.'

Stephen Hay, executive director of regulation at NHS Improvement, said: 'The trust is now on course to deliver significant and sustainable financial improvement and staff can be proud of their achievement.

'In particular, the work to reduce the use of expensive agency staff has been really successful, and is something we will be sharing with other trusts as an example of best practice.

'The financial health of the sector is critical to the provision of high quality patient services.

'We will continue to support the trust as it seeks to build on the excellent progress it has made.'

NNUH chairman John Fry added: 'This is great news for staff and great news for patients.

'Coming out of financial special measures so quickly is testament to all the staff who create a great team at the hospital.

'The management team led by Mark Davies has done a fantastic job, and they have worked together really well to achieve this.'

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