The health trust due to take over some of Stafford Hospital’s services in the autumn has been referred to the Health Secretary because of concerns over its finances.
The University Hospital of North Staffordshire Trust is one of 19 health organisations where concerns are being raised by auditors because they have failed to break even and do not have robust enough plans to balance their books in future.
Not only did the 19 trusts fail to break even in the 2013/14 financial year, they were also unable to convince the Audit Commission they could put their problems right in the medium term.
Audit Commission controller Marcine Waterman said the findings were "worrying".
Meanwhile the BMA, the organisation representing doctors, has warned that the NHS is “starting to buckle” because of lack of investment.
Dr Mark Porter, chairman of the BMA Council, said:"Ultimately, politicians have to face up reality: we have an aging population with more complex medical needs. Demand on the NHS is rising and will only continue to rise.
“Staff and services are stretched to capacity, workloads are becoming unmanageable and patient care is being compromised.
“The message is stark and clear - without urgent investment in frontline services and real action to put the health service on a sustainable financial footing for the future, the NHS simply will not be able to cope."