Morecambe Bay NHS trust 'insolvent' without £30m cuts

Furness General Hospital The trust has been ordered to make changes by health watchdogs

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The trust running hospitals in South Cumbria could be insolvent without a £30m cut in spending, it said.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which runs hospitals in Barrow, Kendal and Lancaster, told staff it faced a "serious financial challenge".

The cut was part annual efficiency saving and part "a result of the cost of making services safe", it said.

The trust has faced inquiries into failings in standards of care.

Investigations have been held into baby deaths and failings in maternity services in Cumbria and Lancashire.

In the letter to staff the trust's chairman John Cowdall and chief executive Jackie Daniel said: "There have been rumours that the trust might run out of money and be unable to pay wages.

'Necessary savings'

"The reason this isn't happening is we are continuing to take action to prevent it."

The Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale Tim Farron said the trust could be put in "a situation where they end up making savings that put people's lives at risk".

However, the trust said it would not "put finance before the safety of anyone who uses our hospitals".

It said short term financial assistance from commissioners and the Department of Health would not continue beyond April next year.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "We understand that the trust is working closely with the local NHS and Monitor to develop a robust plan for financial recovery.

"We expect organisations to continue delivering high quality patient care while making the necessary savings."

The trust said it could not guarantee there would not be job losses but would work with staff representatives "to minimise the impact and provide the appropriate support".

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