Marking what could be the end of the road for the troubled Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, experts have concluded that in its current form it is neither clinically or financially sustainable.

The independent panel - comprised of experts form Ernst & Young and McKinsey - have informed watchdog Monitor that they are likely to conclude that the Trust - which manages two hospitals in Cannock Chase and Stafford - is no longer viable.

The government is already pumping an extra £20 million a year to keep the Trust operational, but even if it meets its "challenging" savings targets the books will not be even without further long-term funding, the Contingency Planning Team said.

The team's next move it to work closely with the Trust, local commissioners, other healthcare providers in the region, patient representatives and members of the public to assess options for the long-term provision of services to patients in the Mid Staffordshire area. 

This will include determining the route to clinically and financially sustainable local service provision, what the organisational structure might look like and how it will be implemented.  

A report detailing the CPT's recommendations will be published in March next year.

Team sent into Peterborough and Stamford Trust

Elsewhere, things are not looking good for the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS FT, on which a separate CPT is descending to sort out its own financial mess.

The Trust carries an annual shortfall of a whopping £45 million, and the National Audit Office recently concluded that a Private Finance Initiative deal it is tied into is simply "unaffordable" and that it could not deal with its financial problems on its own.

"The reality is that the Trust has a significant underlying deficit and even if it achieves challenging annual cost savings it will continue to need substantial financial support from the Department of Health," said Monitor chief executive David Bennett.