THE University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust (UHMBT) is one of a rising number reporting ‘serious’ financial difficulties, according to a report published today.

The research group highlights health watchdog Monitor’s ‘concerns’ about UHMBT’s in its Dr Foster Hospital Guide 2012.

In July, the trust warned it would run up a £29.5 million deficit by the end of this financial year.

There was better news for the trust on patient deaths, with UHMBT's mortality rate improving on last year.

Trust medical director George Nasmyth said: “We are pleased that the mortality rate published by Dr Foster shows significant improvement compared to the previous year’s figures and the Trust is now within the 'expected range'.

The improvements identified in the data published by Dr Foster are consistent with our own internal monitoring, which have also shown significant improvement.

“This reflects the hard work undertaken by staff in improving the quality of care offered throughout the trust. However, there is no place for complacency, we must all continue to focus on quality and seek further improvements in outcomes for all the services we provide.”

“Dr Foster’s figures do show the trust performing well in some other areas such as the number of excess bed days – and that we are discharging patients to a more suitable environment in a timely fashion. On the other hand they also indicate that we need an additional focus on long lengths of stay for elective surgery and admissions where the procedure is not performed.

“We are studying the data behind these figures to ensure that any additional measures we can take to improve the experience of our patients is implemented.”

“Overall the published data are consistent with other indicators which show that the trust has hard-working and dedicated staff whose key objective is to improve the quality of care offered to our patients.”