FINANCE: Burton Hospitals Foundation Trust has appealed for £10m in financial support after the size of its forecast deficit more than tripled.

The West Midlands acute trust had predicted a £3m deficit for 2014-15 in April but now expects to finish the year £10.6m in the red, according to its September board papers.

Its plan to break even in 2015-16 has been revised to an expected loss of £13.1m.

According to the papers, Burton’s altered financial prediction is partly due to a downwards revision in its cost improvement programme target, from £11m to £7m. The original figure was considered to be “overly stretching”, it said.

A Burton spokeswoman said the rest of the increased predicted deficit was due to “investment in additional staffing and contingency plans”.

Burton was one of the 11 acute providers placed into special measures following NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh’s review of trusts with unusually high mortality rates. The review raised concerns about nurse staffing levels at the trust. Further concerns were raised in a Care Quality Commission inspection in April, which found that bank, agency and locum staff were filling vacant posts.

The trust’s September papers noted a “continued overspend on pay within the medical division, with high agency costs in [July]”.

The trust is in discussions with Monitor about receiving temporary financial support in the form of public dividend capital, according to its board papers.

Should the funding be approved, Burton would be “expected to prepare a recovery plan to restore financial balance”.

The trust spokeswoman said the first year of its five year plan would be “challenging financially”, and its continuing deficit would require pubic dividend capital funding of between £7m and £10m each year.