The government body Monitor has announced that is it to undertake an investigation into the financial conduct of Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Finances at the trust have deteriorated significantly, and the regulator will examine the reasons for this, and also attempt to establish an approach that will lead to an improvement.
Monitor intervened after it became evident that the trust was experiencing financial difficulty.
The Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had, in fact, reported a surplus during last year’s accounting period, but its financial position has since declined significantly. Reports suggest that the trust will accrue a £5.4 million deficit for the 2015/16 financial year.
The trust is responsible for Leighton Hospital and the Victoria Infirmary, and plays a major role in one of England’s largest and most prosperous counties.
Speaking on the issue, Paul Chandler, Regional Director at Monitor, stated that the government body is concerned about the financial health of the Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
“The trust’s finances have deteriorated and the most recent projections show that things could get worse over the coming year,” Chandler warned.
“Patients in and around Crewe, Northwich and Winsford rely on the services this trust provides, so we’re investigating to find out more about the problem and what can be done to improve the situation,” Chandler continued.
Chandler emphasised that no decision has yet been made on whether regulatory action would be necessary, but he did indicate that such a decision could be expected imminently.
Independent NHS trust are intended to provide care on a sustainable basis, and it is a major part of Monitor’s duties to ensure that this remit is being met adequately.
In the case of the Cheshire trust, the degrading financial position of the trust has been a massive red flag to the government body that further investigation is vital.