Dark day for Doncaster’s public services as £12m NHS deficit and £7m of cuts are revealed

Doncaster Royal Infirmary. DRI. (Picture: CHRIS BULL HospitalD3707CB)
Doncaster Royal Infirmary. DRI. (Picture: CHRIS BULL HospitalD3707CB)

Doncaster’s public services are today facing major cash problems as the council revealed it needs to cuts a further £7million from its budget – on the same day the DRI admitted a black hole in its finances.

Doncaster Council needs to make an additional £7m worth of cuts over the next year, while the NHS Trust which runs Doncaster Royal Infirmary is trying to reassure patients after bosses discovered a £12m deficit.

The council’s cabinet meeting heard yesterday a further £6.9m of savings must be made to balance the 2016-17 budget.

The council is in the second year of a £109m cuts programme, to be completed in 2017, and the £6.9m is in addition to that figure.

Council officials expect the government will reduce the Revenue Support Grant by at least £4m in its spending review next month – and expect a further £2.9m will be needed to cover the cost of the introduction of the government’s National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour from April next year.

It is believed the NLW will also affect the costs of Adult Social Care contracts, raising costs by £3.19m in the 2017-18 financial year.

A report to the meeting warned the cuts could hit adult social care and pension budgets. There could also be a 1.95 per cent council tax rise in 2017-18.

Members of the public, as well as Conservative Coun Cynthia Ransome, accused the council of ‘attacking Doncaster’s most vulnerable’ at yesterday’s meeting.

Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones said: “These cuts are central government cuts, not Doncaster council cuts.

“We’re having to make draconian cuts throughout and we are seeking to protect the most vulnerable within the restrictions we have got. But we need to make a balanced budget.”

Meanwhile, the finance chief at Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Foundation Trust has resigned following the discovery of a £12m deficit.

Patients who use the services are being reassured not to be concerned about the change and patient care will continue as normal.

Mike Pinkerton, chief executive for the Trust said: “For the first five months of the year the accounts have been reported inaccurately to the Director of Finance and Infrastructure and the Board of Directors.

“As a result I have requested an external investigation into how our finances have been managed, which is already underway. As the person ultimately responsible for the systems of financial management and control within the organisation, the Director of Finance and Infrastructure has resigned.”