The trust which runs the Royal Lancaster Infirmary has been given a unique funding boost of up to £25m.
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) has welcomed the announcement by Monitor – the regulator of NHS-funded health care services – that its application for modifications to the 2015/16 tariff (the price paid for treatments) in six areas of essential care has been successful.
The variation, called a Local Price Modification (LPM), is the first of its kind in the country to be approved by Monitor, and is in recognition of the geographical challenges the trust faces treating patients across five sites.
Aaron Cummins, UHMBT director of finance and deputy chief executive, said: “We welcome the announcement by Monitor about the modification to our tariff.
“We particularly welcome the recognition from Monitor that we face a unique challenge in this area – providing healthcare across five sites to a population size which often, in more urban areas, is served by fewer hospitals.
“The price modification which is likely to be in the region of £20m to £25m, will apply to six areas of treatments for our patients: Accident and Emergency, Surgery, Trauma and Orthopaedics, Paediatrics, Women’s Health and Non-elective medical conditions.
The trust will have to apply each financial year for the modification to its tariff.
Mr Cummins added: “The price modifications for this year are really good news and shows that there is national recognition and confidence in our plans for the future.
“Our longer term strategy seeks to address the structural issues, meaning the requirements for LPM will reduce over time.
“Working in partnership with, our two local Clinical Commissioning Groups, other healthcare providers in the area and our other partners, we are committed to implementing Better Care Together, which will help to transform healthcare across the area for patients – helping them to access healthcare much closer to their homes.”
Dr David Bennett, chief executive at Monitor, said: “It is the first time we have used our powers in this way and the new deal will help the trust continue to provide a range of essential services for patients including A&E and surgery.
“There are finite funds available for the NHS and this adjustment will help to share the burden more fairly across the local health economy.
“However, commissioners and providers need to do more to solve all the financial challenges in the local area.”