Tayside University Hospitals trust has announced a plan to reduce its £12m deficit over two years.

A taskforce sent in by Scottish health minister Susan Deacon six months ago has produced a report that recommends reducing GP referrals by 15 per cent and treating more patients in the community.

The cash crisis has already led to the early retirement of one of the trust's senior clinical managers, Dr Iain Gray, who was responsible for a budget of£25m in the high dependency and intensive care units, operating theatres, anaesthetics and renal services.

Dr Gray told local media he was resigning because of 'the stress of trying to run clinical services when the instructions from the centre, particularly from the health minister, are totally incompatible with being able to run that service'.

Dr Derek McLean, the trust's medical director, has also announced his early retirement.

A spokesperson for Ms Deacon said: 'If Mr Gray thinks that Tayside was being run so well without central government intervention then why have they accrued a debt of£12m - half the total debt of all trusts in Scotland?

'Frankly, left to their own devices they have not come up with a coherent, sensible approach in the acute services review either.'