PERFORMANCE: A Yorkshire trust which is under investigation for concerns about its finances has seen its deficit treble in a month- and is braced for a further increase.

Barnsley Hospital Foundation Trust ended the financial year with a deficit of £7.4m, up from £2.4m just one month beforehand, according to papers from its May board meeting

The papers attribute the deficit to an “adverse pay position” driven by significant increases in agency costs and a “non-achievement” of its cost improvement plans.

In his chairman’s report, trust chair Stephen Wragg said the trust had “declared [a] serious incident on financial irregularities” in March.

This had led to a number of investigations being invoked by the trust, his report adds.

“These will identify how this position was arrived at and will advise on measures that need to be taken to ensure this cannot happen again.”

Monitor launched its own investigation into the trust in April after it breached the national A&E quarterly target five times within 18 months, and showed a deteriorating financial position.

Mr Wragg statement adds: “It is imperative that the whole of the organisation works together to bring about a return to stability on finances and not only meeting, but exceeding the A&E four-hour target.

“The work to bring the trust back to financial stability is making progress and the focus of the whole Trust must be the forward path to sustainability.”

Trust chief executive Diane Wake said in a statement: “We can confirm that our end-of-year financial position for 2013-14 was an unaudited £7.4m deficit.

“We have commenced this new financial year with a deficit of at least £7.4m however, we expect that this position could worsen.

“Exact figures are being confirmed as part of our investigations, which we expect to conclude shortly.”

The trust is drawing up a two-year recovery plan, detailing the steps it must take to “turn our position around”, Ms Wake added. This plan will be submitted to Monitor.

“We would like to reassure patients that quality patient care remains a priority and that we are continuing to provide the same high level of care that our patients need and deserve,” she said.