Health watchdogs are investigating whether the NHS Foundation Trust for West Suffolk Hospital breached its healthcare licence following concerns about its financial performance.
Monitor is to examine why the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust ‘failed to deliver its planned svaings’ and overspent by about £4 million last year.
Trust bosses cited a number of reasons for the deficit including high levels of emergency admissions and delays in discharging patients after hospital treatment.
As part of its investigation, Monitor will work with the Trust and other NHS bodies to understand the Trust’s financial position and the local response.
Adam Cayley, Monitor’s regional director for the Midlands and East of England, said: “We need to understand why West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s financial position has deteriorated and be assured that our concerns about its financial performance are suitably addressed and do not impact on the trust delivering the care its patients deserve.”
Stephen Graves, chief executive at West Suffolk Hospital, said the Trust, along with many others across the country, has been ‘experiencing financial challenges and ended 2013/14 with a £3.6 million deficit because of the national tariff reduction and high levels of emergency activity’.
He said: “These financial challenges will remain and we forecast a loss of £8m in 2014/15. This is a worst case scenario and our recently published two-year plan, along with the work currently underway with PricewaterhouseCoopers, will improve the final outcome.
“As a result Monitor, our regulator, has decided to take a closer look at our finances so that they can understand the reasons behind our performance and the steps we are taking to improve the situation in the future.
“It is important to stress that Monitor have no other concerns and recognise that the quality of care we provide to our patients and our performance in all other areas
“We will continue to work closely with Monitor to provide any assurances they request that our plans are aligned, where necessary, with West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and together we can deliver the necessary improvements.”
Monitor says it will announce the outcome of its investigation in due course.