NHS bosses warned ailing trust faces administration if it fails to improve

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BOSSES at a failing Yorkshire NHS trust losing £100,000 a day have been warned it faces going into administration unless major improvements are made.

Department of Health officials told the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust they could intervene amid concerns over the long-term future of the organisation which has an underlying deficit of £37.6m this year.

Regional health chiefs meeting today will be told the trust, which runs NHS services in Wakefield, Dewsbury and Pontefract, ranks bottom in the north of England on a range of key clinical and other performance targets.

Its new leadership this week announced plans for a radical restructuring in a final attempt to secure its future, which would see maternity services downgraded in Dewsbury as emergency care is centred at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield. But they warned the trust would need at least five more years of financial support worth millions of pounds.

In May, talks over the failure of the trust to progress towards elite foundation status, as required by Ministers, were held between trust chief executive Stephen Eames and senior Department of Health officials.

A subsequent letter by its director of provider delivery, Matthew Kershaw, said the trust’s finances remained in a “critical position”.

He said it was worth exploring the potential gains from efficiency improvements alongside reconfiguration as “a starting place”.

But he added: “If this then failed, more radical solutions could come into play.”

He suggested further detailed thinking was required but the “UPR (unsustainable providers regime) could help to identify a sustainable service strategy”.

The regime was imposed for the first time by Ministers last month, putting the South London Healthcare NHS Trust effectively into administration.

There has been speculation the trust could be merged or taken over by other NHS trusts in the area and the letter, obtained by the Health Service Journal under the Freedom of Information Act, indicates several potential partners are being considered although it does not name them.

A Mid Yorkshire trust spokesman yesterday said local NHS bosses were being backed to “get services right” by securing the future of health services through reconfiguration. Further details of the future form of the organisation would be made public in the autumn.

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