Warrington Hospital: Probe launched over £15m deficit

Warrington Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption Staff at the hospital have been informed about the financial situation in a letter from the chief executive

A Cheshire hospital is expecting to suffer a £15m budget shortfall which amounts to "one of the biggest challenges in its recent history".

Health watchdog Monitor has begun an investigation amid concerns about Warrington Hospital's finances.

Chief executive Mel Pickup has written to staff to explain the need to "find new ways to reduce our operating costs".

Auditors KPMG have also been brought in to help manage the hospital's budget.

Ms Pickup's letter, which has been seen by BBC News, refers to an "unprecedented affordability gap forecast for the national healthcare system" following rising costs.

It explains that even if "realistic savings" are made, the hospital expects to be operating at a deficit of £15m for the 2015-16 financial year.

'Challenging year'

The hospital, which has an A&E unit serving the wider area, has now "declared itself in a turnaround position", Ms Pickup said.

Her letter says managers will be speaking to staff about the situation over the coming weeks, but urges them to immediately begin "thinking about our personal commitment to bring about improvement".

The projected shortfall is also expected to be felt at the smaller Halton Hospital and the Cheshire and Merseyside Treatment Centre, which are also managed by Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The trust said in a statement: "We have been very open and honest about our financial position with our staff and the public after what has been a challenging year.

"Business at the hospitals continues very much as usual but we do face a challenge that we need to meet.

"We are continuing to provide the very best care to our patients, recruiting to key posts and vacancies to reduce our temporary staffing costs and transforming the way some of our services work."

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