East Kent NHS trust appoints new finance boss to tackle debt

A new finance boss has been appointed to save a hospital trust that faces £60m of debt.

Tim Glenn has joined East Kent Hospitals Foundation Trust (EKHT) as interim chief financial officer.

EKHT runs Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, as well as sites in Canterbury, Folkestone and Dover.

Stewart Baird, chair of the trust's board of directors, said EKHT was under "unprecedented" pressure.

At a meeting of the board of directors on 2 November, Richard Oirschot, non-executive director, said the trust was in the process of preparing a revised forecast.

He said: "As a result of the current adverse performance and the lack of progress on the trust improvement programme, delivery of the 23/24 financial deficit of £72m will not be achieved."

Documents show the trust submitted "a request for exceptional working capital for £25.7m to NHSE in October", which is the value required to clear "relevant outstanding creditor balances."

A trust spokesman confirmed to the Local Democracy Reporting Service it would get the funding.

'Significant support package'

Mr Baird said Mr Glenn, with NHS England, would bring a "significant support package" which would see "additional resources brought into the trust to help us really get these financials back into a position that's more acceptable".

He added: "The pressures we're under are unprecedented and I don't use this language lightly."

He also said the number of cases at the trust's emergency departments was"extraordinarily high," adding extra financial pressure.

Michelle Stevens, interim director of finance, told the board £2.6m of its £18.4m overspend was from an unplanned pay award for staff which the trust was not compensated for, and another £1.5m was a result of strike action.

The trust instituted stricter controls on recruitment to non-clinical jobs, and reduced use of agency workers.

During the meeting, Ms Stevens said the trust had seen a "significant" reduction in using agency staff.

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