FINANCE: Barnsley Hospital Foundation Trust has appointed an interim director of finance, following the emergence of serious financial problems.

The FT’s board meeting last month was told that Stuart Diggles had been appointed interim finance director.

It follows the trust recording an unplanned unaudited deficit of £7.4m for 2013-14. It was a major and unexpected deterioration, and the trust has “declared [a] serious incident” in relation to its finances. It has commissioned investigations into what happened, and sector regulator Monitor is also carrying out reviews.

May board minutes state that its plan for 2014-15 was in development, and at that time a £13.5m deficit was predicted.

The FT’s previous director of finance Janet Ashby was not present at the May meeting and was reported as on sick leave in April meeting minutes. She took up the post in August 2012 and had been deputy director of finance before that.

The FT has declined to comment on whether it still employs Ms Ashby, or on the appointment of the interim finance director.