University College London Hospitals warn of ‘significant financial challenges’

Islington Council was provided with a UCLH report titled ‘Significant Financial Challenges’. Photograph: Islington Council

University College London Hospitals Trust (UCLH) has warned of an “unprecedented” financial challenge going into the coming year.

In a report to Islington Council headed ‘Significant Financial Challenges’, the Trust, which provides acute and specialist services in six hospitals across London, forecast a net deficit of £14.2m for 2019/20.

The report, by Simon Knight, director of planning and performance at UCLH, highlighted a number of costs in the pipeline for the organisation, including an £11.1m outlay for the second year of the implementation of an electronic health records system.

Knight said: “These costs were planned but now coincide with a national requirement for all trusts to be moving at a faster pace on a trajectory towards a break even position.

“The Trust is working closely with the London NHS England and Improvement team and with its Sustainability and Transformation Plan partners to plan to close the gap between what is being required of the Trust.”

Another drain on the Trust’s coffers will be seen with the £10.3m opening of the so-called UCLH Phase 4 building on the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Grafton Way, which will offer proton beam therapy (PBT).

Rather than high-energy x-rays, PBT uses a beam of high energy protons to precisely target a tumour, reducing the damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

Other costs include £1m following the opening of the new Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital on Huntley Street, which provides services relating to dentistry, hearing, speech and balance.