A ‘CHAMPAGNE moment’ has been celebrated at George Eliot Hospital as a debt worth millions of pounds is finally paid off.
Despite being tasked with making millions of pounds in efficiency savings by the government, chiefs at the Nuneaton NHS Trust have managed to pay back a £6.8m loan taken out back in 2006.
The hospital has also achieved a ‘break even’ position for the end of the financial year.
Announcing the good news at a meeting of the Nuneaton NHS Trust Board, director of finance Chris Bradshaw, said the hospital was in a ‘pretty good place’.
“Breakeven for the year has been achieved and we have fully repaid our working capital loan,” he explained.
“We have finally got rid of our debt - although we still have a deficit.”
The Trust borrowed £6.8m from the Department of Health during the financial year 2006/07 when it was battling a deficit of £7.3m and it has been paying it off in installments ever since.
“We borrowed £6.8m to support a working capital deficit of £7.3m,” added Mr Bradshaw.
“We have now fully repaid that loan, predominantly out of surpluses over the last two years in cash resources. This has not been done by reducing capital investment - we have still got funds.”
Chairman of the board, Stuart Annan said: "So we’ve effectively paid off the mortgage?” After Mr Bradshaw replied ‘yes’, non executive director Rupert Herd called it a ‘champagne moment’.
Nationally, the NHS is required to deliver up to £20 billion of efficiency savings by 2014, as outlined in the government’s White Paper, Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS.
For its part, the George Eliot will need to save in the region of £26m before the deadline.