Lancashire hospitals face action over financial problems

Royal Preston Hospital
Royal Preston Hospital
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Health regulator Monitor has announced it is taking action against the cash-strapped Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust because of “serious concerns” over a deepening hole in its finances and problems with its financial management.

The Trust, which runs hospitals in Preston and Chorley, has been declared in breach of its licence to provide care for patients following an investigation in March.

The action was announced on Wednesday afternoonn with Monitor revealing it had agreed a series of actions with the trust to address problems with its financial position and the way it is being run.

The Trust, which provides general care to patients across Preston, Chorley and Lancashire, and specialist care for patients across the north of England, reported a deficit of £2.8m in 2014/15. But it forecast a £46.8m deficit for 2015/16.

This was the biggest deterioration in finances in the NHS foundation trust sector this year and Monitor’s investigation found the trust lacked both the robust plans and the financial management needed to address its problems.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals has also agreed to develop and deliver a long-term plan to ensure its finances return to a stable position.

Monitor will appoint a financial improvement director to provide support to the trust and hold it to account for making progress.

The health sector regulator will also amend the trust’s licence to ensure that, if the trust fails to make the changes needed, further action could be taken in future including changes to the leadership team, if required.

Paul Chandler, regional director at Monitor, said: “The trust urgently needs to improve its financial position in order to continue to provide the quality of care that people across Lancashire expect in the long-term.

“This year the trust predicted that its finances will be significantly worse than last year. There are a number of reasons for this, notably problems with the trust’s financial plans and management.

“The trust is now on notice to reduce its forecast deficit quickly, and whilst it has our full support as it delivers its recovery plan, we will strengthen our action if necessary to ensure it manages its finances better in future.”