FINANCE: Great Western Hospitals Foundation Trust has breached its provider licence following an investigation by Monitor.

The watchdog published its conclusion yesterday after finding that the Swindon based FT did not have a “robust” financial recovery plan or a strategy to ensure it continues to provide services for patients in the long term.

Ongoing financial problems at the trust prompted Monitor to open the investigation into the provider in October.

Great Western Hospital

Great Western finished 2013-14 with a £17.4m deficit

The regulator has highlighted the need for the trust to better manage the money it spends on agency staff and discharge patients more efficiently.

The trust, which in 2013-14 saw revenues of £308.1m, has had to deal with cost increases due to the growth in the number of patients requiring emergency treatment.

Great Western finished that financial year with a £17.4m deficit and has forecast a £2.9m deficit for 2014-15.

A trust spokesman said it would be working over the next few months to provide assurances to Monitor that it has plans to improve its financial position.

He added: “We have been working with Monitor since October and have agreed to a series of actions to improve our financial performance, sustainability and governance.

“We will also be developing a financial recovery plan to get our books back into balance, but it will take time. 

“Despite our financial position, no concerns have been raised about the quality of treatment and care we provide to patients. 

“Together with our local health and social care partners, we must address the increasing demand for healthcare.”

In a statement, Monitor said: “The trust needs to increase its efficiency, for example with how well it manages the money it spends on agency staff, and how effectively it discharges patients once their treatment is complete.

“In recognition that the trust can’t fix all of these problems alone, Monitor has been coordinating action between local health organisations to help reduce costs while ensuring patients across Swindon and Wiltshire continue to receive services.

“Monitor will continue to scrutinise the trust’s performance as it delivers plans to fix its problems, and will take further action for patients if necessary.”