Health chiefs create action plan to deal with £4m overspend at Homerton Hospital

Homerton Hospital

Homerton Hospital - Credit: Archant

Health chiefs have moved to address a multimillion pound overspend at Homerton Hospital.

“Major concerns” were raised in October of an up to £4million financial risk to City & Hackney’s health and social care economy.

Last week Hackney’s Integrated Commissioning Board (ICB) – made up of reps from Hackney Council, the City of London Corporation and City & Hackney’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – listened as Siobhan Harper, director of the CCG’s Planned Care workstream, told them what the plan of action was.

Ms Harper said: “We’d like to give assurance that while this may have come to people’s attention last month, it’s something we’ve been aware of for a while and actively working on. It’s had a huge amount of attention.

“It is looking more favourable, but it is still looking like a £2.5m overspend in elective activity at the [Homerton University Hospital Foundation] Trust.”

The action plan describes an “unexplained” increase in non-GP referrals and day cases at Homerton, in which patients make planned admissions for procedures requiring a bed for a day.

An audit on how referrals at the Homerton are made is being carried out as part of the action plan.

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Panellists on the ICB, including Hackney Deputy Mayor Cllr Feryal Demirci and City of London’s Randall Anderson questioned whether the figures were an anomaly, and if not, why they had not been predicted.

CCG finance chief Sunil Thakker said the operating plan for the Homerton had been based on a mixture of national and local assumptions, and though the plan had been signed off by the East London Sustainability and Transformation Partnership and NHS England, there had been an awareness of “pockets of risk.”

Mr Thakker said: “We quantified that risk and found it, relative to the plan, was manageable and within our appetite.

“There has been a step change here as this was unexpected, and as a result we have this recovery plan process.

“We will have an overspend here, but we are working with the Homerton to deal with it as fast as we can.”