Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals trust accrues £6m of debt as financial blackhole investigation continues

Mrs McCready worked at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.
Mrs McCready worked at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

A Doncaster and Bassetlaw hospitals trust has accrued a further £6 million of debt since April – as it continues to investigate a financial blackhole.

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals Trust ended the financial year with a deficit of at least £30m following the discovery of a £12m financial black hole in July last year.

The misreporting of the Trust’s finances prompted the resignation of finance chief Michael Lowry and the launch of an internal investigation, which is still ongoing.

And now, while the Trust says it believes it is on course to end the year with a significant reduction in the level of debt, The Star can reveal that it has racked up a deficit of £6m over the last four months.

Jeremy Cook, interim finance director at the Trust, said: “Although still challenging, our financial situation is better than originally forecast.

“This reflects the hard work of all staff in the Trust in controlling costs while still maintaining operational performance and quality and safety.

“It will still be a tremendous task to deliver the forecast deficit but everyone is the Trust is working hard to ensure we get there and our strong financial performance to date is maintained.”

A spokesman said The Trust forecast a deficit of £8.1m by this point in the financial year – which means it spent £2.1m less than expected between April and July this year.

The release of the Trust’s latest financial position comes just days after its chief executive Mike Pinkerton announced he would be stepping down in January.

Mr Pinkerton, who has held the position since 2012, says he is stepping down in order to ‘spend more time with his family’.

A spokesman for DBH said he could confirm that Mr Pinkerton’s resignation was not connected to the financial misreporting at The Trust.

DBH chairman Chris Scholey said: “I have particularly enjoyed working alongside Mike, his open style, knowledge and experience of the NHS, and I find his total commitment to patients and staff has been both refreshing and motivating.

“During the last year, Mike and his team have worked tirelessly to set the Trust on the road to financial recovery, whilst ensuring that the Trust’s quality measures are regularly in the top 20 per cent of the country.

“Mike is a talented manager and I am saddened but understand and respect his decision. The search for his replacement will start immediately while Mike will continue in his role until the end of January 2017.”

Mr Pinkerton said: “It has been an extraordinary privilege leading the Trust for the past number of years and I want to thank each and every member of staff for their support throughout my time as chief executive.

“Although a very difficult decision, I have decided to step down so I can spend more time with my family.”