A strategic health authority has launched an independent review into the finances of a cash-strapped primary care trust.

NHS Yorkshire and the Humber has appointed NHS Confederation medical director Hugo Mascie-Taylor to chair a panel looking at “the balance of health services” at NHS North Yorkshire and York.

The SHA said the review was on behalf of North Yorkshire GPs and is expected to report by early summer.

In a leaked letter reported in the local press, NHS Yorkshire and the Humber chief executive Bill McCarthy said the review was necessary to “get out of the vicious cycle of unplanned and hastily communicated actions which over many years have become a regular feature of efforts to balance NHS budgets in the area”.

NHS North Yorkshire and York chair Kevin McAleese said the PCT welcomed the review and would assist with it. 

The PCT board heard last month that it was £14.5m overspent with an “extremely challenging” financial position and “substantial risk in a number of budget areas”.

Contracts with many secondary care providers were significantly overspent and savings plans had not generated the expected cash.

In October, the PCT announced it was stopping IVF treatment for three months and would no longer fund some minor surgery in GP practices.

In December, it revised plans to stop funding for health charities mid-year after the SHA offered financial support.  

The PCT’s previous chief executive stepped down in 2008, after it received a double weak rating from the Healthcare Commission. In 2007 it proposed using primary care staff to triage patients arriving at accident and emergency, as it struggled with a £45m overspend.