Bosses at a struggling Midland hospital will find out tomorrow just how deeply into the red its finances are.
The Strategic Health Authority will instruct primary care trusts how much money Good Hope Hospital should be paid for services it has performed over the last financial year.
Its 'worst case' scenario is a deficit of £47million but it claims it has treated many more people than it has been paid for.
Lisa Dunn, director of corporate affairs at the Heart of England Foundation Trust and also on the management team
at Good Hope, said at a Birmingham City Council health overview and scrutiny committee meeting: "It could make money for activity between 2005 and 2006, activity over and above what has been commissioned. For example, extra emergency admissions and some elective activity. We have no idea how much that might be."
The hospital has been under the management of the Heart of England Foundation Trust, which is responsible for Heartlands and Solihull hospitals, since November.
By law a failing trust cannot merge with a buoyant one, such as HEFT, so a unique solution is being sought to rescue Good Hope before a two-month deadline expires.
Committee member Richard Miles hinted that the way it was managed could have implications for other struggling health trusts.
"We will have to find a completely new way of solving the significant drain on the health economy," he said.
"There is a particular will to solve it because it is not on its own in facing this particular problem."
A raft of cost-cutting measures has been tabled to cut costs at Good Hope.