Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust £7m in debt
A hospital trust which ended the financial year almost £7m in debt has said it will take more than 12 months to get its finances out of the red.
The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) blamed the deficit on a number of things, including failing to meet savings targets and an increased reliance on agency staff.
The announcement was made at the trust's board meeting in Truro.
Health bosses said a three-year recovery plan was being drawn up.
The trust has been on black alert, where hospital services are unable to cope with demand, for week-long periods in February and April.
Steve Vaughn, interim director of operations, said almost all non-urgent operations had been cancelled over the last few days because there were not enough beds for patients.
He said he "felt sick every time the decision was made to cancel an operation" because he knew the stress and anxiety it caused patients and their families.
The trust, which runs the Royal Cornwall Hospital, the West Cornwall and St Michaels Hospitals, also revealed its application for Foundation Trust status has been abandoned.
The foundation status allows NHS managers more freedom to manage their budgets.
Graham Webster, campaigner for Health Initiative Cornwall, said the decision could leave RCHT open to being taken over by another south west NHS trust.
He said he was concerned about the trust's future given the "ongoing problems" with performance.