Urgent improvements have been ordered at a Yorkshire NHS trust after it plunged into deficit.
The Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust is likely to be £5.5 million in the red by the end of March - well behind projections of a £3m surplus.
Now regulator Monitor has demanded action to improve its finances and the performance of its board which “could have done more” to prevent the problems.
The trust has agreed to appoint an independent turnaround director, implement a plan to improve its finances and commission a review of how well the board leads the organisation.
Monitor regional director Paul Chandler said: “The trust’s financial position is very serious and projections show it could get worse over the coming months.
“We have acted on behalf of patients and the trust will now take steps to balance its books and to improve how the board provides leadership.”
Trust chairman Andrew Haigh said work was underway to ensure it delivered efficiencies and stabilised its finances.
“We will also need to continue to work closely with our partners in the local health system to look at how we can transform the way in which our services are provided so that both the trust and the wider health and social care system are financially sustainable into the future,” he said.
Monitor yesterday lifted restrictions on the Barnsley hospital imposed over concerns patients were waiting too long for treatment in A&E, breaching the target to see 95 per cent of patients within four hours.
Chief executive Diane Wake said “The fact that we have improved our processes so much that we consistently met the 95 per cent target is a testament to how hard our staff have worked across the whole system.”
Monitor is continuing to scrutinise the hospital’s financial position after it also fell millions of pounds into the red when it emerged its accounts had been misstated.