The outgoing members of NHS Wiltshire expressed concern that the organisation taking over from them will be able to rein in overspending at the three big hospitals.

At a board meeting on Wednesday executives were told that up to the end of January NHS Wiltshire’s budget for services at Great Western Hospital, Swindon, Royal United Hospital, Bath, and Salisbury District Hospital were all overspent, due to the hospitals treating more patients than in NHS Wiltshire’s plans.

However, due to underspending in prescribing and drawing on reserves NHS Wiltshire is forecasting it will end with a £2 million surplus in March.

Non-executive director John Holden said: “Over performance in acute hospitals has been like that for six years and I just wonder how we get ourselves out of this? Is it going to be the same old story with the CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups)?”

Wiltshire CCG, a mainly GP led organisation, takes over planning and buying health services from NHS Wiltshire in April.

Tony Barron, chairman of NHS Wiltshire, said: “The CCG have exciting plans for the future about the way services are delivered and most are aimed at reducing the number of people going into hospital and staying in hospital too long. If it all works it is an exciting prospect and I’m optimistic that it will work.”

Dr Steve Rowlands, chairman of Wiltshire CCG and a GP in Trowbridge, said: “The over performance in acute hospitals relates to planned and unplanned care. In planned care we are looking at redesigning pathways and setting of care, we have already effected over performance in that.

"In unplanned care we are actively looking at case management of vulnerable people to try and prevent hospital admission. We are working closely with the council to improve the lot of the individual at home and with these plans we will achieve our intended outcomes.”