A HOSPITAL trust has been told it is at “clearly considerable risk” of financial trouble.

A report by the NHS into Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust called for a “robust and stretching” plan to secure its finances.

The trust, which runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and the Princess Royal in Haywards Heath, failed multiple targets in the year leading up to March.

This included more than a quarter of patients in January waiting more than six weeks for a diagnosis, making the trust “one of the worst performing nationally”.

That is far above the target for just one per cent of patients waiting for six weeks.

In January and February, 160 patients had to endure 12-hour waits on a trolley in A&E.

Meanwhile in February almost a quarter of people in A&E had to wait at least four hours to be seen, “significantly” below targets set by the NHS.

And 35 per cent of cancer patients faced delays of more than two months before they began treatment.

Finally, 10,000 more patients are on the trust’s waiting list for treatment, including some who have gone more than a year between referrals by a GP and treatment.

The NHS Improvement report said the trust had “demonstrated a failure of governance arrangements”.

This included failure to effectively implement “effective financial decision-making, management and control”.

Though the report acknowledged the trust had made some improvements since it was removed from special measures in July 2018.

The trust had originally been placed under strict financial measures in October 2016 because of its large shortfall.

The NHS report read: “The trust has taken effective action to address its governance failures since March 2017.

“But further improvements are required.”

Now the trust has agreed to draw up a financial plan to secure its rocky position.

If it fails to comply with the NHS’s conditions, “further formal action” could be taken.

Dame Marianne Griffiths, chief executive of the trust, said it was “on target” for reducing its deficit to £53 million by March 2020.

She said: “The trust has made significant improvements over the last two years and exited special measures for both finance and quality.

“In January this year these improvement were recognised by the Care Quality Commission, who rated the trust ‘good’ overall and ‘outstanding’ for caring.

“The new undertaking agreed with NHS Improvement also recognises the progress made by the trust.

“The trust has agreed a finance plan which will reduce its current deficit and achieve financial sustainability.

“At the end of June we were on target, reporting a deficit of £5.42 million and £17.8 million for quarter one.

“We will continue to work closely with NHS Improvement during the delivery of both the financial and performance plans.”