Gloucestershire Hospitals trust takes £20m loan

Gloucestershire Royal Hospital Image copyright GHNHSFT
Image caption A financial review was begun after it was discovered suppliers were not being paid on time

An NHS trust that runs two hospitals in Gloucestershire has taken out an emergency loan of £20m to cover an £11m deficit.

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust began an independent review after it was found suppliers were not being paid on time.

The trust overspent on developing and improving buildings and equipment.

It had previously forecasted a £5.3m surplus for the end of this financial year.

'Really disappointing day'

The trust, which runs Cheltenham General Hospital, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and services at Stroud Maternity Unit, hopes the Department of Health loan will ensure staff salaries are not affected by the large debt.

The trust's chief executive Deborah Lee, in post since June, said: "It's a really disappointing day. I certainly didn't expect to be coming into post making these announcements.

"The board is devastated, and deeply regrets the oversights in respect of financial management and accepts that it is the collective responsibility of the board and needs to look at itself very, very carefully to understand how did this happen."

The review also found the trust failed to deliver its savings plans.

Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group's chief accountable officer, Mary Hutton, said: "We acknowledge the pressures facing the trust but we believe strongly that, moving forward, the right leadership is in place to stabilise their finances and to ensure their internal procedures and oversight arrangements are strengthened.

"We are committed to working in partnership to tackle the underlying challenges which face the trust and the whole healthcare system in Gloucestershire."

The BBC has learned the trust's finance director Helen Simpson has resigned from her post.

The trust confirmed she had left but would not confirm whether it was as a direct result of the review's findings or whether she would get severance pay.

The trust also said it would continue to run as normal and patient care would be unaffected.

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