Published: 02/12/2004, Volume II4, No. 5934 Page 11

Airedale trust admitted last week it could need a government hit squad to tackle its£5m deficit.

In an attempt to reduce costs, two wards at Airedale General have been closed, a freeze put on non-emergency work and 25 jobs axed.

But Janet Crouch, financial director and acting chief executive of the trust, this week told a patient and public involvement forum: 'We are close to getting a government hit squad in.

'We have a problem and we are working very hard to address it. If we can't solve it ourselves then, as with other trusts, intervention would be the next course of action.'