Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust rapped over worsening finances

Ambulances outside Royal Preston Hospital's A&E department
Image caption The trust could have its leadership team replaced if finances do not improve

A health watchdog has said it has "serious concerns" over a Lancashire hospital trust's finances after it predicted a £44m rise in its deficit.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust's budget is forecast to rise from £2.8m this year to £46.8m next year.

Health regulator Monitor said it was appointing a financial director after the "biggest deterioration" of any NHS foundation trust in England.

The trust's chief executive said she will take "necessary action".

The probe into the trust, which runs the Royal Preston and Chorley hospitals, found it lacked "both the robust plans and financial management" needed to address a "deepening hole" in its finances.

The 2015-16 deficit represents 12% of its predicted £433.1m income.

Monitor, which has given the trust an action plan, says a new financial improvement director will "hold it to account for making progress".

The regulator is also amending the trust's licence which will see its leadership team changed if it fails to make the changes required.

'Cancelled operations'

Paul Chandler, Monitor's regional director said: "The trust urgently needs to improve its financial position."

A trust spokeswoman said a rising number of patients had been placing a bigger strain on its finances as extra beds and staff - including agency workers - were needed to cope with demand.

Cancelled surgery due to a shortage of beds left the trust out of pocket as it had to pay for extra clinics and "outsource" operations to other trusts.

The trust also received less government funding for some specialist services.

Karen Partington, chief executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said she was committed to complying with Monitor's actions.

She added: "I'm confident that we'll be able to take the necessary action to demonstrate that we can manage our finances now and for the future."

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