New finance boss parachuted in to save East Kent hospital trust in £60m of debt

Hospital trust

By Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Esson

A new finance boss has been parachuted in to save a debt-ridden health trust which is under “unprecedented” pressure.

Tim Glenn has joined East Kent Hospitals Foundation Trust (EKHT) as interim chief financial officer on a one-year-secondment from a Cambridge hospital, and will bring with him “significant support” to tackle a deficit of almost £60 million.

A meeting of the trust’s board of directors on November 2, heard that the institution is running at a deficit of £59.3 million, compared to the planned deficit of £40.9m by this point in the year.

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

Non-executive director Richard Oirschot 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.

“The trust is in the process of preparing a revised forecast.”

The trust runs to a planned deficit and was meant to be at £72 million by April 2024.

Stewart Baird, chairman of the board, said: “Undoubtedly we are not going to achieve our planned deficit.”

Meanwhile, documents prepared ahead of the meeting show that 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 has confirmed to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) that it will be getting the funding.

During the meeting, directors heard that Mr Glenn has been appointed on a one-year secondment from Royal Papworth Hospital Trust in Cambridge.

Mr Baird went on: “He’s also bringing with NHS England support a significant support package which will see additional resources brought into the trust to help us really get these financials back into a position that’s more acceptable.

“The pressures we’re under are unprecedented and I don’t use this language lightly.”

The chairman said the number of cases coming through the trust’s emergency departments is “extraordinarily high,” adding extra financial pressure.

Interim director of finance Michelle Stevens told the board that £2.6 million of their £18.4m overspend is from an unplanned pay award for staff which the trust wasn’t compensated for, and another £1.5m is a result of strike action.

She said the driver of the bloating deficit is “predominantly” the failure to deliver on planned savings.

“That’s where the additional resources that are coming in are going to be focusing over the latter part of this financial year and looking forward to the next couple of years as well to help us break even,” she said.

After the financial woes came to light some months ago the trust instituted stricter controls on recruitment to non-clinical jobs, and reducing use of agency workers.

During the meeting, Ms Stevens said the trust has seen a “significant” reduction in using agency staff.

The William Harvey Hospital  in Ashford, Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Buckland Hospital in Dover and Royal Victoria Hospital in Folkestone, are all of part of EKHT.

When coffers are empty, NHS trusts have their spending re-forecasted through a process called the National Protocol working with NHS England, and new cash is made available.

In 2012 the South London NHS Healthcare Trust, which ran three hospitals,  was scrapped in the face of financial woes.

It was placed in administration after accumulating debts of almost £150 million, and it was divvied up between other NHS bodies and private companies.

It’s rare for NHS trusts to fall into such a situation, but when facing especially severe financial woes they can be placed into administration, special measures, or scrapped and their functions taken up by other NHS bodies instead.


  1. It’s all the private companies that have been allowed to sponge off the taxpayers money that is supposed to be for the benefits of patients NOT private company shareholders. Kick out the private companies. They have been an absolute disaster to the NHS.
    I’ve spent 42 years working in the NHS I’ve seen the damage the unprofessional useless private companies have done. To blame agency nurses and doctors is a smokescreen to the real cause.

    • Maybe you should also look at the job creation of jobsworths on the administrative side and in relation to this article at EKHUT. By the way when did you cease working in the NHS and when did you cease working in East Kent?

  2. Quelle surprise! Too much middle management, too much reliance on expensive agency staff, too much waste on procurement…… the list goes on. Get more staff actually working in the wards and theatres.

  3. Over the last few years I’ve been directed to the Urgent Treatment Centre at QEQM when trying to get a GP appointment. GP surgery needs at least 5 more doctors to function properly. The UTC is good, really helpful. But presumably the care it provides comes out of the EKHT budget where previously that cost would have been born by GP.
    I hope it isn’t axed or ‘rationalised’ when the bloke parachutes in. Patients are going to suffer whatever he does.

  4. Can I suggest AI should replace some of the admin staff? I have eye diseases, and have to have regular check ups, that cost me £10.00 each way to get to the QEQM by taxi. I then have to go again, sometimes the next day to hear the result from a consultant, again £10.00 each way by taxi. Total £40.00 for taxi fares! I have decided to stop having these checkups until someone in Admin at the QEQM can ensure I am seen by a consultant on the same day I have the checkup, saving me £20.00.

  5. NHS is finished thanks to years of Tory austerity/neglect and poor/misguided management.
    It would take years to put right if it ever could.
    Doctor appointment = 2 weeks
    A&E = 12 hours
    Bupa/private is our only option now and that’s exactly what the Tories have planned ‘We won’t sell it off’ No of course you won’t you’ll just bring it to it’s knees and let it collapse on its own, ‘Not our fault’ Grrrrr Tory scumbags.

    • Oh and I have been on their waiting list for 12 YEARS for a major operation – I’m pretty sure they was hoping I would just crawl under a rock and die.

Comments are closed.