During 2021-22 the Trust spent just over £410m.
The COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect the Trust and during the year the Department of Health made funding available to trusts to cover the additional costs incurred due to COVID-19. We spent £35.8m, a reduction from the £46.0m during 2020-21, on activity and purchases for our continued response to the pandemic.
In addition, we also invested £10.6m in capital assets:
- £3.7m on IT towards the electronic patient care record (ePCR), data lake, infrastructure improvements and the new fleet system
- £4.4m invested in building projects, mainly development of make ready sites, station refurbishments, sustainable lighting upgrades and vehicle shoreline infrastructure
- £2.3m was spent on replacement or new equipment including new Corpuls defibrillators and LUCAS devices
- £0.2m new electric operational vehicles as part of a national trial
- Received digital capital investment of £0.7m for IT projects
- We disposed of two aged station sites, Frinton and Corringham, relocating the provision of these locally. This generated capital receipts of £0.4m
- We disposed of our property in Dunstable giving a capital receipt of £0.9m. The patient transport and response post activities provided from that location were relocated.
The usual financial contractual arrangements for the emergency services contract with clinical commissioning group commissioners continued to be suspended nationally, as it has been during the previous financial year, and instead a ‘block’ income arrangement was put in place. These arrangements included allocations for ‘normal’ activity alongside the provision of income towards the response to COVID-19. There was also additional income provided nationally for winter capacity as activity levels continued to increase as the country started to ‘recover’ from the Covid pandemic. As ambulance service activity, whilst at times lower than during ‘normal’ circumstances, continued and therefore our increased costs are reflective of this.
We continued to focus on cost efficiency targets across 2021-22. Our initial target was agreed at a lower level than a usual year due to the continued focus on the pandemic. The target set was for £3.5m and we in fact exceeded this with £3.9m. This was a really good achievement in the circumstances.
The Board will continue to monitor our financial position and key risks. The most significant financial risk will be how we manage the recovery from COVID-19 position alongside the transformation of the services that is required to maintain performance within the available resources. There will be continued attention to efficiencies and savings plans and the target for 2022-2023 will need to be considerably higher. The NHS is working to return to pre pandemic contractual income arrangements and the Trust will be required to return to a balanced budget.
The full financial statements for the year ending 31 March 2022, are presented within the annual accounts.