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Money, money, money: Deficits of Norfolk hospitals revealed

PUBLISHED: 15:18 27 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:36 27 March 2019

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: MIKE PAGE

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: MIKE PAGE

Copypright Mike Page, All Rights Reserved Before any use is made of this picture, including dispaly, publication, broadcast, syn

Norfolk's three hospitals look set to end another year in deficit, as NHS cash comes under the spotlight.

It is no secret the health service is stretched but Norfolk’s busiest hospital, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) is forecasting finishing 2018/19 with more than double last year’s deficit.

It is predicted to be a massive £58.8m in the red as the financial year ends.

That is more than double last year’s deficit of £27.3m - and a major cost cutting drive is planned for next year to bring that number down.

MORE: Healthcare plan for region was ‘over optimistic’ as £96m deficit is revealed

A trust spokesman said: “Work is ongoing to reduce the deficit and the trust is on course to deliver £28.5m of savings in 2018/19

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, main entrance. Photo: The Queen Elizabeth HospitalThe Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, main entrance. Photo: The Queen Elizabeth Hospital

“The trust is still finalising its 2019/20 financial plan, but it is currently projecting a significant improvement in its financial position with a projected deficit of £20.7m.”

The private finance initiative (PFI) deal used to build the hospital in 2001 costs around £20m a year, which chief executive Mark Davies previously said left the hospital hamstrung.

And he said he would be lobbying government to help with the substantial amount.

Elsewhere, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King’s Lynn, had to apply for an emergency loan to the Department of Health and Social Care in January for £6m in cash and it had exhausted all its other borrowing options.

James Paget Hospital in Gorleston. Picture: Nick ButcherJames Paget Hospital in Gorleston. Picture: Nick Butcher

MORE: Hundreds of new beds needed at ‘absolutely overflowing’ hospital

Part of its problem is staff recruitment, meaning it has to spend around £15m million pounds on agency staff between April and November 2018 alone.

A report produced by Boston Consulting previously said the QEH had an “abnormally high temporary staffing burden”.

The hospital said: “The trust is fully committed to improving its financial position and staffing plays an important role in this work. We are looking at recruitment and retention of staff to support our financial plans to reduce the cost of agency staff.”

The hospital was forecasting a loss of £9.7m in 2018/19 but by December it had already lost £27m.

James Paget University Hospital (JPUH), in Gorleston, is in the best financial place of the three hospitals, forecasting a deficit of around £8m this year.

The overall health budget for Norfolk and Waveney is overspent by £96m.

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