Tyne & Wear

Gateshead and Sunderland health trusts finances probed

Patient waiting area at the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital centre
Image caption Gateshead Health NHS Trust has just opened a new £32m emergency care centre but said it was on budget

The health regulator has launched an investigation into the finances of two Tyne and Wear hospital trusts.

The financial situation at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust has deteriorated, Monitor said.

A "credible plan" to improve must be formulated, it said.

City Hospitals Sunderland Trust said all areas were facing challenges. Gateshead Health Trust said it had seen "unprecedented demand" this winter.

"Like many other NHS organisations across the country Gateshead is facing an increasingly challenging financial landscape," Gateshead chief executive Ian Renwick said.

"The local healthcare system is coming under increasing strain."

Overspend prediction

Sunderland trust chief executive Ken Bremner said: "Our current financial position and the challenges facing us and others across the NHS are difficult, but these are something that have been, and will continue to be, a major focus within the organisation."

Monitor regional director Paul Chandler said it wanted to make sure the trusts continued to provide high quality care while managing finances effectively.

"We have launched this investigation to understand why the trusts' finances have deteriorated and find out what needs to be done to fix them," he said.

Attention from Monitor has been triggered by trusts' quarterly financial reports predicting an overspend.

Monitor has also announced investigations at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Scrutiny elsewhere in the country was likely as other trusts' quarterly figures were published, a spokesman said.

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