What are Financial Special Measures?

Financial Special Measures were introduced in July by NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve Trusts’ financial and operational performance. This is part of wider measures being taken nationally to ensure the financial sustainability of the NHS. Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) is included in the first wave of (five) hospital trusts to be placed in Financial Special Measures.

Why is MTW in Financial Special Measures?

Trusts in Financial Special Measures have forecast significant and unsustainable financial deficits during 2016/17. The Trust had been unable to agree a control total with NHS Improvement at the beginning of the year. We had also seen a substantial increase in our pay bill that exceeded the national average over the last three years.

We were forecasting a deficit of £23 million during 2016/17. We were asked to produce a financial recovery plan and show a reduction in current spend and therefore an improvement in the overall financial position. As part of the financial special measures process MTW also agreed a control total with NHSI. The final deficit for MTW during 2016/17 after the financial recovery plan was implemented was a deficit of £10.9m, a significant reduction to what had been previously forecast.

NHS Improvement appoints Financial Improvement Director

NHS Improvement appointed a Financial Improvement Director to work with Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW). Simon Worthington started at MTW on 22nd August. Mr Worthington was the Trust’s primary day to day contact for special measures. He oversaw on behalf of NHS Improvement the actions the Trust is took to develop their financial recovery plan and reduce its financial deficit. Mr Worthington completed his work with the Trust in early January 2017.

What are the deadlines MTW is working to?

Last year after being placed in financial special measures, the Trust had to develop a robust high level financial recovery plan within four weeks. This had to be agreed with NHS Improvement, and then implemented at pace to ensure a sustained financial improvement. The elements of the financial recovery plan can be found within the Trust’s annual report.
The Trust remains in financial special measures and continues to work with NHSI to reduce the Trust deficit and deliver the year end control total. A number of progress check meetings have taken place with NHSI during 2017/18 which continues to focus on the Trust’s current spending run rate and deliverability of the cost improvement programme.

Notes for Editors
Simon Worthington is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Accountants (ACCA). Mr Worthington joined Bolton NHS Foundation Trust in February 2013 from South London Healthcare NHS Trust where he was Deputy Director of Finance. He has held a number of Board level posts in the NHS, including eight years’ experience in Finance Director posts at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Tees, East and North Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust and South Huddersfield Primary Care Trust. He has also operated successfully in the roles of Acting Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive whilst at previous NHS posts.