FINANCE: Monitor has launched an investigation into poor financial performance at Wirral University Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust.

The regulator has announced the probe to establish whether Wirral is in breach of its licence to provide services and is planning to “call in” the trust to explain why its costs have been higher than expected this year, with income lower than forecast.

The trust does not make copies of its board reports publicly available on its website. However, Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group papers suggest the trust had overspent by £1.4m in the year to July and was over-performing on its contracted activity.

Monitor said launching an investigation would help it determine whether there were problems with the way the trust was run which could impact on patients.

Monitor regional director Robert Davidson said: “Through our routine financial monitoring process we have identified that the trust’s financial performance was significantly out of line with what income was expected, therefore we have decided to investigate further.

“No decision has been taken about whether regulatory action is required and an announcement about the outcome of the investigation will be made in due course.”

Trust chief executive David Allison said: “In common with all NHS hospital trusts, we are operating in an extremely challenging financial environment, trying to reduce our costs whilst enhancing quality for patients.    

“Our financial results for October already show an improving financial performance and a series of actions to continue to address the position are being closely monitored by the trust board.  We welcome the opportunity to share these plans with Monitor.”