HEALTH sector regulator Monitor has launched an investigation into Dudley’s hospital trust over missed A&E waiting targets and concerns about its financial performance.

The Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has failed to meet a national target of seeing 95 per cent of patients within four hours at its Accident and Emergency department at Russells Hall Hospital, where targets have been missed in four of the last five financial quarters.

Monitor will also be investigating concerns raised about the deterioration of the trust’s financial performance, after hospital chiefs admitted they were facing a £6.7million deficit.

Adam Cayley, regional director at Monitor, said: “The trust is taking too long to see patients in A&E. We’re also concerned about its financial position. We’re launching an investigation to get to the bottom of these issues and understand whether or not we need to step in.”

Paula Clark, chief executive of the Dudley Group which also manages Dudley’s Guest Outpatient Centre and Corbett Outpatient Centre in Stourbridge, said: “We share their concerns around our deteriorating financial performance and the difficulties we have faced to meet the national Accident and Emergency (A&E) target.

We welcome Monitor’s support around our action plan to treat, admit or discharge emergency patients within four hours of arrival at A&E, and around our financial plans to bring the books back into balance by 2015/16 and go towards our future financial sustainability.

“However, we would like to reassure patients that Monitor’s concerns are around performance targets and financial position; they are not about patient safety.”

A spokesman for Monitor said no decision has been taken about whether further regulatory action is required and an announcement about the outcome of the investigation will be made in due course.