FINANCE: Directors at the Royal Berkshire Hospital Foundation Trust expressed a lack of confidence in the organisation’s financial management, shortly before an attempt to oust the chief executive.

It has emerged that directors suggested that executives were not in control of the trust’s costs, and that chief executive Ed Donald placed the trust in turnaround in November, introducing a range of weekly performance monitoring measures.

A trust board summary from November, published as part of the council of governors’ January meeting papers, said: “The board concluded by expressing significant concern about the financial position of the trust and the evidence available to suggest that previously expressed concerns were being addressed… the board commented that of particular concern were the continuing ‘cost shocks’ which indicated that the executive was not in control of expenditure.

“The board commented that it was imperative for the Executive to demonstrate, by the January meeting at the latest, that effective control was being exercised over costs.”

It has since emerged that in December the trust’s chair Colin Maclean, with the support of non-executive directors, attempted to remove chief executive Ed Donald. Mr Maclean has since resigned.

The board had heard that there was a “disappointing increase in pay costs in October”.

Governors’ papers said: “In addition, non-pay costs were not reducing as quickly as had been anticipated. As a result, the trust was £2.1m overspent at the end of October, compared to a planned deficit of £0.9m.

“The board expressed significant concern at the financial performance of the trust in October and in the year to date. The board commented that the failure to address the underlying financial concerns expressed at previous board meetings did not give confidence that the actions being put in place to address the latest issues would be successful.”