Dorset County Hospital is back on track financially – but is still facing difficulties in the present financial year.

The hospital made savings of £9million in 2017-18.

As a ‘reward’ it has been given grants amounting to £1.47million, but the chief executive Patricia Miller warns that the need to make savings continues.

“We are currently delivering on the plan that NHS England have agreed with us, but we should hear more about new arrangements in five months’ time,” she told the hospital's Council of Governors.

She said that additional £1.47million should mean the hospital trust not having to borrow money from the NHS Improvement Fund and ending the financial year ending in April 2018 on the positive side of the balance sheet.

The cash reward comes from achieving the four-hour standard in accident and emergency in March and for meeting other targets.

But she said that the payments were a one-off and would not be reoccurring and warned that savings would again need to be made in the current financial year.

“It is not an easy challenge and I’d like it noted how hard the staff worked to achieve the savings we have made..we could not have asked them to do any more than they have done and they deserve the highest recognition for that.”

The meeting also heard that in obstetrics and gynaecology measures to tackle a lengthy waiting list had now been solved, with measures being taken to keep lists down. These included the hospital taking on three specialists, although they had only advertised for two posts.

The hospital chief executive, Patricia Miller, said that with a national shortage of the specialists they decided to take on all three applicants because they were so good.

She said she also believed that changes to the service elsewhere in the county might result in further demand for Dorchester as patients from the Purbeck and Upton areas opt for treatment at Dorset County Hospital, rather than have to travel to Bournemouth.