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The Isle of Wight NHS Trust has been placed into financial special measures by NHS Improvement as it battles a worsening deficit.

Specific costs relating to the Island’s situation have been blamed for not being able to deliver all efficiency savings as planned. This includes the inability to recruit enough permanent staff, which has increased the spend on agency workers.

For the current financial year, in January, the Trust confirmed an increased deficit of £13million more than its original financial plan and has not yet been able to sufficiently explain the deterioration or how it will be addressed.

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The Isle of Wight NHS Trust is already in special measures for quality and while the Trust has placed considerable focus on improving the quality of care for local patients, it has not placed equal focus on improving finances.

The Trust is now expected to develop a plan to make sustained improvements to both its quality and financial performance. Any improvements to its financial position must not have a negative impact on the quality of care.

Financial special measures is designed to help NHS trusts facing the biggest financial challenges. Under the integrated oversight of the Regional Director for the South East for both NHS Improvement and NHS England, support for the trust from both organisations will be aligned to help develop and implement this plan.

Confirming the decision today, Anne Eden, Regional Director South East, NHS Improvement and NHS England said:

“Despite the unique challenges faced by the island’s geography and the efforts of staff at the trust, the current financial position at the trust is not sustainable. There is strong evidence to show that high quality care and financial grip go hand in hand and the trust must now drive improvements at pace to ensure local patients consistently receive high quality, safe and cost-effective care.”

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Maggie Oldham, Chief Executive of the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, has responded to the news. She has said:

“Like many NHS organisations the IOW NHS Trust has for some time had a worsening financial deficit.This is because we have invested in necessary improvements, and have cared for an increased numbers of patients.

“Our costs have risen significantly, and we have not been able to deliver all the efficiency savings that we hoped to.Some of this is due to the specific costs related to our island situation.Particularly the difficulty of recruiting enough permanent staff, which has resulted in us spending more on temporary staffing fees.

“We also recognise that we need to continue to develop alternatives to treating people in hospital.Our Community and Mental Health services need more development.This will ensure that patients and service users are supported with a range of suitable care options tailored to their needs.

“We are working in partnership as a Health and Social Care System to plan and deliver improvements together, that will provide us with clinically sustainable services.Working with NHS Improvement Financial Special Measures team, will provide us with additional focus and support to ensure that our clinical services are also financially sustainable”.

As reported by Island Echo earlier today, the Care Quality Commission has issued a Warning Notice to the Isle of Wight NHS Trust to ensure immediate improvements are made to St Mary’s Hospital’s emergency department.

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