Managers at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital have revealed that the trust is more than £2 million in debt amid growing criticism of its management and care standards.
As first reported in the Lynn News on Friday, a highly critical report by the Care Quality Commission found the hospital was failing to meet all of nine criteria examined by inspectors during a three-day assessment in May.
Now, Monitor, the body responsible for regulating foundation trusts such as the QEH, has announced that it plans to take further action against the hospital for breaches of its licence.
They said the hospital had missed national targets relating to the length of time patients had to wait to be seen in the accident and emergency department in three successive quarters.
They also reported that the hospital had breached assurances given to Monitor about its finances, a development the trust has blamed on pressures caused by the harsh winter.
Regional director Mark Turner said: “Since we first stepped in at this trust, further issues have arisen and the trust’s financial position has deteriorated.
“We are concerned about the issues identified by the CQC report and expect the trust to take steps to rectify these problems and make sure it delivers appropriate care for its patients.
“We will also use our regulatory powers to ensure that the trust takes steps to achieve the A&E national waiting time target, addresses its fnancial performance and undertakes an independent review of how the trust ensures it delivers high quality care.”
The trust has admitted that it had a £2.6 million deficit in its finances at the end of July and needs to find an extra £9 million in savings.
A spokesman added that the trust had recorded an £866,000 loss in the financial year 2012-13, because of reduced clinical income brought about by extra pressures on emergency services during the prolonged winter and what he described as “increasingly demanding efficiency requirements.”
He added: “Like many other NHS organisations, the QEH is working hard to make the organisation financially secure. We have plans in place to deliver the levels of savings we require and to increase activity.
“On a positive note, staff have worked extremely hard and clinical income for both June and July has been better than we expected and no planned operations have been cancelled recently because of bed shortages.
“We are currently working with external stakeholders to agree a longer term sustainability plan for local acute services, together with providing assurance on internal processes to maximise efficiencies, while continuing to maintain the quality of patient care.
“It is going to be a challenging year for us, but we will ensure we deliver our plans and our key objective of providing high quality care for our patients.”