A west London hospital trust has been referred to ministers after it was estimated to come up £23million short in the next two years.
The North West London NHS Hospital Trust, which oversees Central Middlesex Hospital, Northwick Park Hospital and St Mark’s Hospital, was one of the 19 trusts which left The Audit Commission concerned after a review into the finances of 98 trusts.
Marcine Waterman, controller of the audit, said: “This year auditors are reporting concerns about the financial resilience of a third of NHS trusts compared with a quarter last year.
“This level of reporting is worrying and reflects the increasing risks to the financial sustainability of individual NHS trusts, as they continue to face sizeable financial pressures due to a rising demand for services and the necessary focus on quality of care, whilst balancing the need for continued cost savings.”
The trust is already aware of the need for an extra 123 beds at Northwick Park Hospital and was recently rated one of the five worst in the country for meeting the government’s target of treating all patients in A&E within the target of four hours.
Gareth Thomas, Labour MP for Harrow West, said in a recent parliamentary debate: "I say gently that perhaps if the government had not wasted £3billion on a completely unnecessary reorganisation of the NHS, NHS England might have been able to find more quickly the funding that will be needed to ease the pressure at Northwick Park hospital.
"The board of The North West London Hospitals NHS Trust has identified an extra 120 beds as necessary just to cope with the existing demand.
"That is before the closure of Ealing’s accident and emergency department and that of Central Middlesex hospital.
"That money might also have helped to stop the closure of the Alexandra Avenue urgent hours centre, or polyclinic. It used to be open from 8 am to 8 pm, 365 days a year, providing a hugely valuable service to many of my constituents in the south-west of the borough of Harrow. Sadly, the centre is now open only from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, and that situation urgently needs reviewing."