A Birmingham health trust is being bailed out with a £7 million handout after fears it could run into debts this year.
Birmingham East and North Primary Care Trust (PCT) is already running at a £2.1 million deficit due to far more patients needing treatment than expected.
Its financial stability has been deemed a high risk by NHS West Midlands along with Solihull Care Trust, which is currently showing a £3.4 million debt.
The news comes as warnings were issued that NHS and social services will be tested “to the limit” by the Government’s efficiency saving requirements over the next four years.
The influential Health Select Committee said that the spending review settlement represented a “significant challenge” for the NHS.
Unprecedented levels of efficiencies would be needed to avoid cuts in services, it concluded in a report published this week.
In the Midlands the PCT was ordered to hand over cash to a regional ‘reserve’ held by the health authority to help out any NHS Trusts that had sticky financial difficulties across the Midlands at the end of the year.
But NHS West Midlands has now returned the £7.27 million the Birmingham PCT gave to the ‘reserve’ to bridge the extra costs it is facing.
Amos Mallard, spokesman for Birmingham East and North PCT, said: “The primary reasons for the financial pressure this PCT is experiencing is an increase in the number of people needing hospital appointments, an increase in the number of people receiving continuing health care and a contribution made by us to the health authority’s ‘Reserve’.
“However, we have a robust strategy in place to reduce expenditure.
“We have reduced expenditure in non-healthcare budgets and are working with GPs to monitor their activity.
“The Health Authority has returned the contribution we made to the ‘Strategic Change Reserve’ and we forecast to achieve financial balance this year.”
Large numbers of extra patients needing treatment from north and east Birmingham at hospital is already £6 million more than budgeted for.
Cost of packages of continuing healthcare for patients with mental and physical disabilities is also significantly higher than anticipated of £1 million over budget so far this year.
While the PCT, covering Sutton to Hodge Hill, Acocks Green, Washwood Heath and Kingstanding, has fallen behind on its savings plan by £1 million.