Somerset

Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital faces £8m budget shortfall

Musgrove Park Hospital
Image caption In a bid to tackle waiting time targets and a "significant increase" in its clinical negligence insurance, the hospital is facing an £8m shortfall

Bosses at a Somerset hospital say they will do their "utmost" to avoid a predicted budget deficit of £8m.

Concerns over the shortfall at Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital were raised by regulator Monitor, following a waiting times investigation.

Hospital finance director David Hobdey said steps would be taken to minimise the deficit for 2015/16 but it was "very unlikely" it will be eradicated.

However, he said the deficit might be paid through existing cash reserves.

In 2014/15, the hospital recorded a surplus of £66,000. But in this financial year, Mr Hobdey said it was anticipating a budget deficit of "around the £8m mark".

He said efforts to tackle government waiting time targets and a "significant increase" in its clinical negligence insurance had contributed to the deficit.

'Cash reserves OK'

The hospital was investigated by the NHS watchdog after it failed to meet its 18-week waiting list targets.

"The primary reason is the extra activity that we need to undertake to help us get back on track with our waiting time targets," he said.

"Also, our premium has gone up from £6m to just over £9m for the current year - not because there was a significant underlying change in our risk profile but because of a change in methodology."

He said a recovery plan was being compiled that would focus "on better integration of the system".

"With a complex organisation like a hospital, there are always ways you can improve efficiency," he said.

"It's really important that we take as many actions as we can to make sure we minimise the deficit but from a cash point of view we are OK."

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