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Hospitals in good health; FINANCE: In the black tonic for trusts after debt crisis.

Byline: By Alison Dayani HEALTH CORRESPONDENT

MIDLAND hospitals have recorded the healthiest finances in years as latest annual accounts show they have overcome huge debt troubles.

All trusts across Birmingham and the Black Country ended the past financial year from April 2007 to March this year with a surplus, with Heart of England Foundation Trust even in the black by up to pounds 22.4 million.

It is a turnaround after the Audit Commission gave Midland hospitals a poor bill of health for financial management in October last year when the region had the most health trusts with the lowest mark of "one" and no trust achieved a top rating.

The worst rated included Sutton Coldfield's Good Hope Hospital, Worcestershire Hospitals Trust and Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals.

Heart of England, which runs Heartlands and Solihull hospitals and officially took over debtridden Good Hope Hospital last April, reported the largest figure and was given the safest finance rating by Foundation Trust overseeing bodyMonitor.

Mark Goldman, trust chief executive, said the money would be reinvested into more services and improvement plans.

"Staff have continued to work hard this year to make sure we provide high standards of care within budget," said Mr Goldman.

"Any surplus we have at the end of the financial year will be reinvested in improving our hospitals and services."

Troubled trusts that have faced difficulties and made hundreds of redundancies over the past two years showed the best signs of recovery yet.

Sandwell and West Birmingham Trust, in charge of City and Sandwell hospitals, which axed 566 jobs in 2006, ended the year with a pounds 6.5 million surplus, which will be used to pay off a large chunk of a pounds 9 million loan it is gradually paying back.

Worcestershire Acute Trust, running Redditch's Alexander Hospital, achieved a pounds 5.19 million surplus this year. Bosses cut 720 jobs in 2006 in a bid to claw back pounds 30 million of debts.

Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals Trust ended the year with pounds 8.3 million, of which pounds 6 million will pay off a loan.

University Hospital Trust, in charge of Selly Oak and Queen Elizabeth hospitals, had a pounds 12.5 million surplus, Royal Orthopaedic Hospital was pounds 6.2 million in the black and Birmingham Women's Hospital had pounds 811,000 spare.

Walsall Hospitals finished the year with pounds 640,000 and Birmingham Children's Hospital had a pounds 1.5 million surplus.

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IN RUDE HEALTH...Birmingham's Heartlands Hospital.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Aug 23, 2008
Words:414
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