A Birmingham MP has claimed the ‘meltdown’ of NHS services in east Birmingham is responsible for the spiralling £30 million debt at the Heart of England NHS Trust.
The health body regulator announced it had launched the probe into the Trust’s finances, as it uses cash reserves to cover the day-to-day running of its three hospitals.
It reported an ‘unacceptable’ £29.5 million loss since April, an average deficit of around £6 million a month.
But Mr Byrne said it would be a ‘big mistake’ if Monitor did not consider the financial problems within the context of the wider NHS crisis in East Birmingham.
He said: “The health system in East Birmingham is now in crisis. People are unable to get GP appointments so they are flooding Heartlands A&E.
“Social care cuts also mean elderly people are staying longer in hospital, and once they are in Heartlands in is harder to get out.
“I think the bill needs to be picked up by the government, as they have failed to invest in local services.
“Heartlands have been left to pick up the pieces. There needs to be a complete review by NHS England into services in East Birmingham.
“It would be a big mistake if Monitor were to look at the case of Heart of England in isolation.
“Social care and primary services are in meltdown in east Birmingham, which is not Heartlands’ fault.”
He said: “I’m very concerned to hear of this, although it is some comfort that Good Hope is not a key part of the Trust’s issues.
“It is too simplistic to blame the government for this. It is about good management locally.”
The foundation trust, which runs Good Hope, Heartlands and Solihull Hospitals, serves around 1.2 million people in Birmingham, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield and South Staffordshire.
A Monitor spokesman told the Post that despite the trust’s spiralling financial costs, it was not its intention to punish the Trust and was assuming it was ‘innocent until proven guilty’.
He said: “The sanctions imposed on the trust all depend on the outcome of the investigation.
“It isn’t designed to punish the trust, that isn’t our intention. It is designed to support the trust get back on its feet and give the best outcome to patients.”
Interim Chief executive Andrew Foster was appointed in January following the resignation of Mark Newbold, and will remain in position until October 31.
Newbold left the Trust in November after claims by Monitor that there was serious failures in his leadership.
Les Lawrence, Chair of Heart of England Foundation Trust, said: “The trust takes responsibility for its financial situation and is working closely with Monitor to rectify all of the issues.
“The board is fully committed to addressing this and will work with staff to achieve its plans to turn its finances around without compromising on quality or the recent improvement in performance.”