Mid Essex Hospital Trust will seek to broker a financial rescue package with the NHS Trust Development Authority next month to put it on a sustainable financial footing.
The trust, which posted revenues of £275m in 2013-14, faces a structural deficit of around £15m related to a private finance iniatitive deal that funded a raft of improvements.
HSJ understands that Mid Essex fears it will be unable to fill the shortfall without central support.
Trust representatives are due to meet TDA chief executive David Flory later this month to broker a rescue package.
Mid Essex is pursuing a number of strategies to improve its financial position, but it is understood that the trust does not believe these will be sufficient to close its financial gap independently.
The trust hopes to restructure its estate to make it more efficient and is working on improving patient flows through the hospital and the productivity of its theatres.
It is also hoped that an NHS England led review of acute services in Essex might produce reconfiguration proposals that would improve Mid Essex’s finances, either by allowing it to take on work from other trusts or by reducing work in areas that would allow it to close the least efficient parts of its estate.
A senior NHS England source told HSJ that putting Mid Essex on a firm financial footing was a high priority.
However, health service officials are concerned that going to public consultation about potential reconfiguration in the area will be politically difficult so close to the general election next May.
Mid Essex was one of 22 trusts which the Department of Health identified in 2011 as struggling to achieve foundation trust status because of PFI debts.
A TDA spokeswoman said: “We are working closely with the trust to review the situation and discussions continue to determine what form of support is needed.
“Our priority is to help the trust develop and assure financial recovery plans to achieve long term financial sustainability.”
“This will be an ongoing process and we will continue to meet with the trust over the coming months to assess any additional support required to address financial challenges.”
The TDA is also concerned that a “significant proportion” of trusts lack a “clear plan for sustainability”, according to a paper prepared for the organisation’s March board meeting by Mr Flory.
All 99 non-foundation trusts are due to submit five-year plans setting out “a clearer direction” by 20 June.
Mid Essex declined to comment.