The NHS Trust Development Authority has written to trusts assuring them they can be classed as “a going concern” by auditors, despite submitting deficit plans for this financial year, HSJ has learned.

A letter sent to all non-foundation trusts on Wednesday said “a number” of trusts had told the authority in April they could not set a break-even plan for 2013-14.

When approached by HSJ the authority would not confirm how many trusts had submitted deficit plans. It said the 2013-14 budgeting process had not yet been concluded.

“Going concern” is an accountancy term for an organisation which is seen as continuing in operation for at least the next year, and has enough cash to meet its obligations.

In its letter, seen by HSJ, the authority said it was working on arrangements for “accessing cash financing” from the Department of Health for those trusts.

However, it said the trusts would be formally “escalated” under its performance management framework, and helped to draw up a “formal recovery plan”.

The letter also said the TDA would now arbitrate between providers and commissioners to try and resolve the financial problems.

It is not yet known how many trusts finished 2012-13 in deficit, but at the end of the third quarter six trusts predicted they would end the year in the red.

Those were Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals; North West London Hospitals; South London Healthcare; and Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals; and University Hospital North Staffordshire.

A TDA spokesman, asked about the letter, said: “Following the launch of the new healthcare system [in April] we felt it helpful to reiterate the existing [going concern] guidance to ensure there is consistent understanding across the country. This guidance has previously been given by strategic health authorities.

“As the TDA is the national body with oversight of all NHS trusts the guidance was circulated to all trusts for information.

”We do not anticipate any organisations having any going concern issues whatsoever.”

The TDA is responsible for the 100 trusts which have yet to achieve foundation status.