Leeds hospitals warned they must make a “big leap” towards tackling £40m deficit

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Hospital chiefs in Leeds are predicting they will be £40 million in the red in the year ahead - if they achieve a mammoth £67m savings programme.

It will be the second year Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust will run up a deficit amid warnings it faces further major challenges in the year ahead.

The trust saved £54m last year as part of a three-year recovery plan. Figures show it was around £24.5m in the red in 2014-15 although only after receiving £14m in one-off support from taxpayers.

Managers are predicting a deficit of £40.2m in the year to next March but this could escalate if the savings programme - around six per cent of its £1.1 billion budget - falls short.

It must make savings despite plans to recruit more doctors and nurses, with the axe likely to fall on more beds.

At a meeting today, chief executive Julian Hartley will tell the trust’s board that it is expected to make “a big leap towards clinical and financial sustainability” in the year ahead.

In a report, he warns: “This year the trust enters one of the most challenging financial years in its history.”

He said it made “good progress” last year in making efficiencies but it had asked for further financial support which would only be provided if it delivered plans including savings of £67m.

He added: “This can only happen with everyone carefully and meticulously examining every cost in order to identify and eliminate waste and with everyone challenging themselves to look for ways to work differently and smarter which will also improve the way we provide services for patients.”