THE trust that runs Basingstoke and Andover hospitals has a deficit of £27.7m making it one of the worst in the country for its size.

Giving an update at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s (HHFT) annual general meeting on its financial position, chief financial officer Steve West said: “It’s been a very challenging year.”

He said the trust has launched a “full-scale financial recovery programme”, adding: “This is a two-to-three-year journey. It has been challenging financially. But hopefully, we will be one of the first to emerge from this situation.”

He said the trust is “one of the worst for our size” when it comes to the deficit, but added: “We started our recovery journey early and that means we’ll be one of the first to come out of it.”

Mr West said the condition of the trust’s estate “continues to get worse” resulting in finances being spent on this.

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However, he said the trust is “excited” about the new hospital project which is now set to move forward after funding of £800m was announced in May by the Government for the new build.

The chief financial officer said the trust is on track for its deficit plan, set this year, which he described as “realistic but challenging”, adding: “There’s still a lot to do to get back to financial balance.”

The trust submitted its plan for the £27m deficit along with a trajectory that would achieve break-even by September 2024.

However, at the end of May 2023 it was off plan by £1.6m.

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A report for the trust’s board of directors, published in July, said the junior doctor strike had an impact on income while costs had been “slightly over plan” because of higher agency use.

However, Covid expenditure had reduced by £0.5m from the previous month, the majority of which was costs for covering absence from Covid-related sickness.

HHFT was put into ‘segment 4’ of an operating framework after it failed to submit a breakeven financial plan and because of concerns about its financial performance.

Segment 4 automatically gives access to the Recovery Support Programme (RSP).

The trust has been asked for a comment.