BREAKING NEWS: Extra beds at Dewsbury Hospital could be scrapped

FINANCIAL WARNING: A plan for extra beds at Dewsbury and District Hospital could be scrapped amid concerns about the state of the hospital trust's finances.

FINANCIAL WARNING: A plan for extra beds at Dewsbury and District Hospital could be scrapped amid concerns about the state of the hospital trust's finances.

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PLANS for 76 new beds at Dewsbury and District Hospital could be scrapped amid urgent warnings about the finances of the trust that runs the hospital.

The extra beds were proposed to cope with a shortage at the new £300m Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, but the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust has missed spending targets.

The Trust is now in crisis talks with NHS bosses to plug a £14m funding gap.

Since March the Trust has overspent by £2,235,000, despite having to make £3.7m in savings to meet the £60m budget cut target within two years.

Auditors have warned of “significant” cash problems if spending is not reduced and the bailout not secured.

The new beds plan, which was revealed in May to help ease pressure on an overstretched Pinderfields, could be halted and spending on agency staff frozen under urgent actions ordered in a report to the Trust’s board.

But a longer-term plan drawn up by private consultants to reshuffle services at Mid Yorkshire to balance the books remains secret.

The trust has been given a financial risk rating of two on a scale where five is low risk and one is high risk.

The trust board report said bosses must consider “postponing the planned investment in opening 76 beds at Dewsbury at a cost of £3.5m.”

Mid Yorkshire chief executive Julia Squire said: “Over the next two years we need to save £60 million to balance our books as well as secure our long-term financial sustainability.

“We have robust plans in place to address these financial challenges and are in ongoing discussions with our local healthcare partners.”

Ms Squire said an extensive plan to determine how services are organised in future was under way. She said: “This will involve clinicians, GPs and representatives of the communities we serve.

“Our Trust board meets monthly and reviews our plans, delivery and risks in detail. The supporting papers are in the public domain and the debate at each meeting is robust.

“It is our duty to challenge performance and identify and mitigate risk. Our absolute focus is quality first and value for money for the taxpayer.”