FINANCE: KPMG has been drafted in by managers at Plymouth Hospitals Trust to help draw up a three-year plan to tackle a multi-million pound deficit.

A message to trust staff from chief executive Ann James, seen by HSJ, says the consultancy will help the trust create a “realistic” recovery plan aimed at ensuring services are “clinically and financially sustainable” over the period 2013-16.

The trust is currently forecasting a £13m deficit by March next year. However, the finance report to July’s board meeting warns of a significant risk in delivering its £24m savings plan, potentially leading to an even bigger shortfall.

The report said the trust had agreed with the NHS Trust Development Authority that £13m cash support would be provided “in a number of smaller [installments] throughout the year to avoid cash deficits”.

In her statement, Ms James said KPMG would be helping “add some pace, stretch and support” to the trust’s efficiency plans.

The former Devon, Plymouth and Torbay primary care trust cluster chief executive joined the trust last year. She denied the trust’s use of KPMG was “outsourcing the problem” but was rather “seeking expert and external support”.

She said the financial problems needed to be addressed quickly in light of the deficit, adding: “KPMG’s work with us will be focused on all areas of trust income and spend as well as with the development of sustainable service lines.”

The trust is struggling with its referral to treatment backlog and has agreed to intentionally breach the 18 week target over the first half of the year.

Meanwhile, trust medical director Alex Mayor has announced he is leaving to take up a role with the South West Academic Health Science Network.