A hospital boss has warned “difficult decisions” will have to be made as he battles to keep his trust’s finances under control.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust is spending £2 million a month more than it can afford at a time when it is trying to save millions.

In a message to staff, chief executive Darren Grayson said part of the problem was down to the hospital being particularly busy and more staff than expected being sick.

This has meant the trust has been forced to spend more on expensive agency workers to cover shifts.

Mr Grayson said: “To keep within our income we need to spend £30 million a month but we are currently spending approximately £32 million a month.

“This is clearly unsustainable and can’t continue.

“This is a real challenge for us as we have to ensure, of course, that we not only meet our safety and performance targets but also do this within the income we generate.

Patient safety

“We have agreed plans that can be rapidly implemented that ensure patient safety is maintained and we are able to meet both our performance and financial targets.

“The Government and local people quite rightly expect us to live within our means, and we should expect this from ourselves.”

The trust is aiming to save £22 million this year and targets having a £2.3 million surplus in April.

However, it currently has a deficit of around £4.5 million and could be forced to get into even more debt before it gets itself back on track.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust say they are both spending within their budgets at the moment.

Hospital trusts that struggle to keep their finances under control could end up being assessed by more senior health organisations and new management teams sent in by the Department of Health to take over.

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