Some NHS trusts will never get back into financial balance, one of the government's turnaround advisers has admitted.

Some NHS trusts will never get back into financial balance, one of the government's turnaround advisers has admitted.

Phil Davidson, a KPMG turnaround director hired by the Department of Health to help get NHS trusts back into the black, said that some will not be able to do so. Giving evidence to the Commons health select committee, Mr Davidson admitted that both government and the NHS was 'going to be in a situation where some organisations run at their most efficient will not be able to reach a full turnaround position'.

He added that it would take 'up to two years' before the effect of turnaround would be felt and said that the quality of financial management in NHS organisations was of a 'lower standard' than would be expected in similar size private sector companies.

When asked by independent MP Richard Taylor whether the NHS as a whole could get into financial balance, PriceWaterhouseCoopers turnaround director Kevin Ellis said that although the NHS had made 'significant progress', there were 'still some big challenges ahead' and it was 'too early to say'.

Also giving evidence, Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire strategic health authority finance director Keith Ford called on the government to set 'clear, unambiguous targets'. Mr Ford said that if the government decided to top-slice pimary care trusts' budgets in the next financial year, they must signal their intention to do so 'much earlier'.

Committee chair Kevin Barron asked how the government's independent treatment centres would impact on trusts' financial plans.

West Hertfordshire Hospitals trust chief executive David Law said that a proposed ITC on the site of the trust's Hemel Hempstead Hospital could lose the trust£15m in income a year.