Health regulator to investigate hospital finances

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Monitor is to investigate Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust to understand why its finances have deteriorated.

As part of the health sector regulator’s investigation it will look into whether the Trust’s leadership could have prevented the recent deterioration in its financial position.

The Trust’s latest financial projections show that it could be around £4million in deficit, when it originally planned for a £3million surplus.

Owen Williams, chief executive of Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust, recently admitted to the People’s Commission on Health and Social Care that the Trust had approached Monitor to say it could not find the savings.

Mr Williams said: “The level of financial challenge we’ve got to face right now is fundamentally unprecedented.

“We’re living in a completely different world to anything that people working healthcare have come across before.

“We’ve already gone back to our regulator to say that we don’t think that it is doable and we are agreeing with them a new re-forecast plan that talks about planning for a deficit.

“But ultimately we’ll look to see what we can do to get back to balance - but that is a really hard ask.”

On the front page of a recent staff newsletter the tTrust asked all staff to let them know if they had any ideas to save money - a spokesperson at the Trust said this was something that the Trust has always done.

Labour MP for Halifax Linda Riordan said: “I am clear that the Government should be investing in Calderdale Hospital and not running it down.

“People have had enough of cuts, they want to see investment in their local hospital. They want the A&E to be saved and they want to see frontline staff being rewarded, not made redundant.

“There be a £50 million pound shortfall, but that is not the fault of Halifax and Calderdale residents. They deserve a first class local hospital. It’s just a shame that Government policies are failing hospital staff and patients.”

Monitor is seeking to fully understand this problem and explore what can be done to put it right on behalf of patients.

Paul Chandler, regional director at Monitor, said: “This investigation will scrutinise the trust’s finances and examine ways to effectively address these problems on behalf of local patients.

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

The trust has been working with its commissioners and other local partners to make it sustainable in the long term. Monitor believes that this work should continue, but at greater pace.

Monitor will publish the outcome of its investigation in due course and set out what, if any, regulatory action it will take.