A WATCHDOG is concerned about whether an NHS trust is providing value for money.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust was one of ten trusts in the country given an “adverse conclusion” in the Audit Commission’s annual report.

However its accounts were found to be true and fair.

An adverse conclusion is given when the auditor is not satisfied the body made proper arrangements to secure economy and efficiency.

The report covers the quality of accounts and action to secure value for money.

The trust, which runs the Conquest Hospital in Hastings and the Eastbourne DGH, ended the financial year with a £23.1m deficit.

Trust finance director Vanessa Harris said: “The deficit which was planned, and was despite the trust having achieved savings of £17.5m – equivalent to 5% of our income – while maintaining good services to patients and achieving Government performance standards for most of the year.

“What this shows is that although the trust has made substantial progress in becoming more efficient and effective, the East Sussex health economy, like the NHS as a whole, has a huge financial challenge to ensure it can meet the needs of the local population in the future.”