FINANCE: Monitor has launched unrelated investigations into the finances at four foundation trusts in the north of England.

The FT watchdog will investigate City Hospitals Sunderland, Gateshead Health, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals and Wirral University Teaching Hospital FTs.

In a statement released today, Monitor said it had not yet decided whether to take regulatory action, but will announce the outcome of its investigations “in due course”.

Regional director Paul Chandler said: “People rely on their local hospitals and they want to know that they will be able to continue to receive high quality care for years to come.

“We have launched these investigations to find out more about the financial situation at each trust and to establish what can be done to improve things.”

Wirral chief executive David Allison said he was “disappointed” that “despite our best efforts our regulator has felt it necessary to open this investigation”. 

He said the trust has “experienced very significant operational and financial pressures over the last couple of years”. 

“The healthcare requirements of the population we serve are such that we are treating more and more patients, many of whom have serious or very complex conditions, and the number of patients requiring repeat or long term treatment is also increasing,” he said.   

“In common with other large acute hospital trusts, whilst the demands on the services we provide have grown to unprecedented levels, we have also been required each year to achieve very considerable cost savings.”

Gateshead chief executive Ian Renwick said the trust was “facing an increasingly challenging financial landscape” with an “unprecedented demand for our services this winter”.

“[It] will be working closely with Monitor to ensure the current financial situation improves and will continue to provide the highest levels of care for our patients during this time,” he added.

Lancashire chief executive Karen Partington said the trust “will fully cooperate with the investigation, and will be working with local health and social care organisations to develop a financial recovery plan that secures the highest standards of care for our communities”.

Sunderland chief executive Ken Bremner said the trust “will co-operate fully with the team from Monitor during their investigation,” and “will work towards improving our financial position without compromising quality and patient safety”.