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  1. ITV Report

NHS Trust put in special measures after chairman resigns over funding

An NHS Trust has been put into special measures over "serious concerns" about its deficit a day after its chairman resigned in protest over government funding.

King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London has been placed into special measures due to its growing deficit which has deteriorated at a greater scale and pace than any other hospital trust.

The move comes a day after its chairman Lord Kerslake quit as the Trust's chairman warning that the health service could not continue "staggering along" under the current funding levels.

NHS Improvement said King's board had earlier this year agreed a budget deficit with it of £38 million for 2017/18, but last week forecast it would hit £92 million - an increase of £54 million.

Lord Kerslake quit as Chairman of the hospital. Credit: PA

NHS Improvement chief executive Ian Dalton said: "The financial situation at King's has deteriorated very seriously over recent months and we have now placed the trust in special measures to maximise the amount of scrutiny and support that it receives.

"We understand that the wider NHS faces financial and operational challenges, and other trusts and foundation trusts have large deficits.

"However, none has shown the sheer scale and pace of the deterioration at King's.

"It is not acceptable for individual organisations to run up such significant deficits when the majority of the sector is working extremely hard to hit their financial plans, and in many cases have made real progress."

A financial improvement director is to now be appointed to oversee the trust and deliver a plan to improve its finances.

Following his resignation, Lord Kerslake told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that there was "not enough understanding of the scale of the challenge that both King's and the NHS is currently facing".

He added: "I am deeply concerned about the position generally, actually, in London where most of the hospitals are struggling.

"But there is also a big issue about social care as well which got no additional funding in the Budget.

"And I think, deep down, what we need is a proper review, a cross-party review, I don't mind what it's called, that looks at what kind of NHS do we want, how much is it going to cost and then how are we going to pay for it.

"Unless we do that we are just going to carry on staggering along, kicking the can down the road and not really addressing the fundamental issue."

The former head of the civil service, who has carried out some work for Labour, said that his decision to speak out was motivated by a "deep passion for the NHS" and was "nothing to do with party politics".

NHS improvement said the deficit at King's College in South London 'has deteriorated very seriously'. Credit: PA

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "We know that King's NHS Foundation Trust faces huge financial challenges and we will support them to tackle these issues and continue to deliver high quality care for patients under a new chairman.

"We would like to thank Lord Kerslake for his service."

Ian Smith has been appointed by the body as interim chairman of the Trust following Lord Kerslake's resignation.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, described Lord Kerslake's decision as significant "not least because he has been at the heart of government".

He added: "As a society we have to decide whether or not we are prepared to take a hard look at what will be needed, embrace reform and provide the resources needed to deliver it."