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29.01.15

Monitor orders deficit-hit Yorkshire trust to improve leadership

Urgent financial improvements have been ordered by Monitor at a Yorkshire foundation trust because of the scale of its deficit. 

By the end of March, the Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT) is forecast to be £5.5m in the red, significantly behind projections of a £3m surplus. 

The health regulator said it found that CHFT’s board of directors “could have done more to prevent the financial problems from arising”, and has agreed legally binding arrangements with the trust to turn things around. 

In particular, CHFT – which runs the two main hospitals in Huddersfield and Halifax, plus some community services – must appoint an independent turnaround director, develop and implement a credible plan to improve its finances, and commission a review of how well the board leads the organisation. 

Responding to the announcement, CHFT chairman Andrew Haigh said the trust has already taken steps to deliver on the undertakings and has agreed with Monitor to meet its “forecast financial plans for this year and our cost improvement target for the year ending 31 March 2016”. 

“For example, we have an external interim director in post with experience at other trusts to support the board in meeting the financial challenges we face,” he said. “We have also been strengthening our programme management arrangements, which will help us deliver quality assured cost improvement plans to make the efficiencies required and achieve a stable financial position.” 

Haigh, however, did point out that CHFT’s first priority is to continue delivering quality, compassionate care for the trust’s patients, “at this time of great challenges for NHS trusts across the country”. 

Over the coming year, Monitor says it will continue to scrutinise CHFT’s performance as it takes the steps needed and will take further action if required. 

Paul Chandler, regional director at Monitor, 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. 

“We expect the trust to make improvements quickly for its patients and we will be keeping a close eye on its performance to make sure these problems don’t happen again.” 

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