Healthcare bosses have been given an additional 40 days to reach an agreement on the funding of essential services at two Staffordshire hospitals.
Administrators were appointed by health watchdog Monitor earlier this year to look at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Stafford and Cannock Chase Hospitals, after a draft report found the trust to be clinically and financially unsustainable.
The findings proposed that the trust be dissolved and some essential services moved to hospitals in neighbouring areas, while also recommending that the A&E department be retained.
However, an agreement is still to be reached on how to pay for the services and interested parties have now been given an extended period to finalise a deal.
Monitor chief executive David Bennett said: "We need to find an answer to the question of who will be providing what funding to secure the future of essential patient services in Mid Staffordshire."
"We are giving extra time for the interested parties to reach agreement over the next few weeks, in order to ensure that patients continue to get the services they need and the taxpayer gets value for money."