Published: 16/06/2005, Volume II5, No. 5960 Page 9

The chief executive and chair of a financially stricken trust have announced their resignations as the scale of its deficit became clear.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn trust, Norfolk, is now nearly£8.5m in the red, with a£3.1m shortfall in the last financial year coming on top of a£5.2m deficit carried over from the 2003-04 financial year.

Chief executive Tony Andrews, who took up post last year, said he will leave in July as the trust needed 'a chief executive with proven exceptional financial leadership'.

Jeffrey Prosser, who has chaired the trust since December 2000, said the trust had improved patient care, but added that 'the tough financial and performance-driven challenges' facing the trust meant 'the time is right for a new style of leadership to be brought into the hospital'.

A trust spokesperson said the initial£5.2m deficit had built up after the sale of staff housing on the hospital site became bogged down.

Revenues had been spent on a new ward, despite the fact that the sale is still to be completed.

The trust's current financial recovery plan states that it is 'unlikely to recover the financial break-even duty within the threeyear period', despite cost reduction measures including a ward closure.

Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire strategic health authority said it would be providing support for the trust during the interim period.

An SHA spokesperson said the resignations were 'a positive recognition that the trust now needs a new style of leadership to tackle significant financial challenges'.