University Hospital Southampton is facing a £66m deficit by the end of the year amid higher patient numbers, inflation and rising staffing costs.

The trust's latest financial report shows the hospital has racked up a £13.4m deficit throughout April and May, resulting in a real-term monthly income cut of £1.5m.

Current forecasts suggest that UHS could face a £66m deficit by the end of the year.

The report states that a £20m funding reduction in recent years as well as more patients resulting in higher staffing costs has led to the increased deficit.

Growth in patients with mental health-related issues, a lack of funding for nationally negotiated pay rewards and rising inflation have also been blamed.

READ MORE: University Hospital Southampton: Only go to A&E if necessary

In the report, presented to the board of directors on Friday, it suggests that financial issues could impact the organisation as it continues to try and meet its statutory duties.

It said: “It is vital we start to see improvements to our financial position and the performance metrics over the next couple of months if we are to maintain a chance of delivering to our plan position.”

Plans to make the service more efficient to offset a reduction in funding have also not materialised yet, the author says.

But now with just days to go until the election, Southampton Test Labour candidate, Cllr Satvir Kaur access to healthcare is a “huge concern” for many on the doorstep.

She said: “Our NHS is on its knees. Southampton General Hospital saves lives, and now we must save it.

“Labour have a long-term plan to make our NHS fit for the future.”

Cllr Satvir KaurCllr Satvir Kaur (Image: Chris Moorhouse)

Cllr Kaur told the Echo that if elected, Labour will introduce 40,000 more appointments each week, as well as doubling the number of scanners to allow for quicker diagnosis.

“We will pay for this by cracking down on tax-dodgers and completely stopping non-dom tax loop-holes.”

Conservative candidate, Ben Burcombe-Filer, said however that “increasing spending is not the whole answer”.

He said: “In Southampton Test we are very fortunate to have one of the leading teaching hospitals in the country.

“No one knows this better than me. Most of the operations, procedures and equipment I have received there since my diagnosis with cerebral palsy over 30 years ago, have been at the cutting edge of new development.

“We have invested more in the NHS than at any other point in its history (over 40% more than in 2010), and have committed to above-inflation increases throughout the next parliament.”

Ben Burcombe-Filer from the ConservativesBen Burcombe-Filer from the Conservatives (Image: Supplied)

Mr Burcombe-Filer added that a “holistic approach must be taken” to resolve the financial woes of trusts, referencing the Conservative tobacco and vapes bill and the party’s “commitment to 2hrs of PE a week for all children, combined with 50 new diagnostic centers”.

But Thomas Gravatt, Liberal Democrat candidate put the money troubles down to “chronic underfunding and mismanagement” adding that UHS’s problems are a “glaring symptom of this neglect”.

“To stabilise the financial situation of NHS trusts like UHS, we need comprehensive reform and investment.”

Cllr THomas GravattCllr THomas Gravatt (Image: Stuart Martin)

He added that the Liberal Democrats advocate for “predictable and consistent funding for free personal care” and that ageing equipment must be replaced to “modernise hospital facilities”.

Mr Gravatt said more GPs should be recruited with extended roles for pharmacies, nurses and paramedics with new walk-in mental health hubs for young people.

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate, Maggie Fricker said: "All NHS Trusts are struggling financially.

"After 14 years of ruthless austerity from the Tories, we’ve seen the longest fall in living standards in 70 years.

"But at the same time as squeezing ordinary people our services are being squeezed too."

The Green Party, Reform UK and Workers Party candidates were all approached for comment but did not respond.