On Thursday HSJ published a story about Department of Health plans to restructure a number of financially troubled acute trusts (news, page 5, 20 April). As part of this story we published a list of likely candidates, based on their published rating by the Healthcare Commission and published work by the Audit Commission.

HSJ accepts that the list was not an accurate reflection of those trusts the Department of Health is reviewing, or of some trusts' current financial performance. We should also have made it more clear that the names we published were not intended to represent the DoH list but only those trusts likely to be included given their recent financial history.

We apologise both for the confusion caused and directly to the trusts named.

The DoH has said in a statement that 'the majority of the trusts that HSJ incorrectly named have already agreed a loan with the department that they are able to repay over a reasonable timescale.

'There are currently a number of NHS trusts where either the DoH could not give them a loan because they could not afford to meet the repayments, or the size of the loan is such that it can only be repaid over a very extended timescale. This has nothing to do with the introduction of payment by results.

'The seven trusts that are on the list published by HSJ, which are currently undergoing the SHA review process, are:

  • ...Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals
  • .. Hinchingbrooke
  • .. Queen Mary's Sidcup
  • .. Royal Cornwall Hospitals
  • .. Surrey and Sussex Healthcare
  • .. Whipps Cross University Hospital
  • .. Weston Area Health

'Of the other 12, nine have agreed loans and three did not submit a request (Airedale, Northern Devon Healthcare,.and University Hospital of North Staffordshire.

'SHAs are now working through a review process with the trusts to identify long-term solutions in these areas. Given the different nature of the problems in each NHS trust, the.DoH expect the solution for each organisation to be individual and tailored to best deliver value for money, while maintaining standards of patient care to the community they serve. The absolute priority is continuity of patient care and that will not be disrupted.'

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare trust has also denied that it was in discussions with Frimley Park foundation trust about a possible merger or transfer of services.

Chief executive Gail Wannell said: 'Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust has achieved significant financial and operational improvements over the past eighteen months and can no longer be regarded as a financially failing organisation, albeit we are still a financially challenged organisation. In the past twelve months the Trust has halved its deficit by£14 million based on the hard work of our staff under the turnaround programme.. We have delivered on the financial commitments we made last year, are on track to reach monthly financial breakeven in the coming year and achieve operational breakeven and will be working with our Strategic Health Authority to determine a long term solution.