THE cash-strapped organisation running Worcestershire Royal Hospital has been reported to health secretary Jeremy Hunt for ending the last financial year with a £14.2 million deficit.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust – which also runs Kidderminster Hospital and Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital – is one of 19 trusts referred to the Conservative minister by the Audit Commission over their failure to break even in the 2012/13 financial year.

This represents an almost threefold increase on the previous year, when only five trusts were referred.

The trust was also listed as “qualified except for’’ in terms of the efforts it made to ensure value for money and financial efficiency, meaning it had appropriate arrangements in place but suffered one or more specific weaknesses.

The organisation is forecasting it will end this financial year with a deficit of £9.8 million. But in May the trust was already £200,000 behind target just one month into the financial year, although it was hoped it would be able to claw back later in the year.

Last year’s £14.2 million deficit was £2.2 million more than was predicted at the start of the year.

The shortfall has been put down to an unexpected increase in the amount of patients visiting A&E.

Other trusts named in the Auditing the Accounts 2013/14: NHS Bodies report include the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust and North West London Hospitals.

Worcester News contacted Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust for comment but no one was available in time to go to press.