NHS trust faces inquiry over deficit

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REgulators have launched an investigation into a deteriorating financial position at a Yorkshire NHS trust.

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust is forecasting a £4 million deficit by the end of March in contrast to original projections of a £3m surplus.

Controversial plans to carry out a major reorganisation of hospital services in the area were put on hold in the summer despite concerns delays are likely to further worsen the financial position at the trust. It is one of six in the region now forecasting deficits in 2013-14 as the NHS faces unprecedented demand for care.

Monitor regional director Paul Chandler said work to make the trust sustainable in the long run should continue at “greater pace”.

“This investigation will scrutinise the trust’s finances and examine ways to effectively address these problems on behalf of local patients,” he said.

“We will also look into whether the trust’s leadership could have prevented the recent deterioration in its finances.”

Trust chief executive Owen Williams said its 6,000 staff were providing care in the face of some “very tough challenges”.

“We are absolutely committed to meeting our financial savings targets and have tried to achieve this whilst at the same time needing to invest in extra nursing and A&E consultant cover to ensure safety, access and quality of care for our patients,” he said.

“We have undertaken an independent review of our approach to finances and will implement the actions from this work to further assure Monitor.”