THE boss of a cash-strapped hospital trust has admitted that this will be the most difficult year he has faced amid deepening financial woes.

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust's annual general meeting heard that spiralling sums of money are still being spent on agency staff, with last year’s bill totalling £21 million, compared to £5 million four years ago.

Finance director Andrew Bertram confirmed the organisation will run out of money by the autumn and will have to take out a loan to cover costs.

That situation was first revealed this last month after an e-mail sent to senior staff was seen by The Press.

Mr Bertram told the meeting yesterday that the trust employs 8,500 people across its facilities in North Yorkshire, has a turnover of £500 million and spends £1.3 million a day.

Last year was the seventh year of the NHS’s national efficiency requirement, with costs rising by between two and 2.5 per cent for inflation, but income decreasing by four per cent. Mr Bertram explained that if a procedure cost £1,000 in the first year of the requirement (2009/10), it would now cost an extra £310.

He also outlined that over the last five years, the savings requirement of the organisation is now in excess of £25 million.

Patrick Crowley, the trust’s chief executive, told the meeting this financial year will be the most challenging year he has faced.

“2016/17 was the most difficult year I have had to work,” he said, “and for consistency’s sake the year we are now in will be even more difficult than that.

“We are entering 2017/18 with little flexibility.”

Mr Crowley provided the meeting with an update on other issues surrounding the organisation, which include recruitment and various waiting time targets.

He labelled recruitment changes “immense” and said he could see no light at the end of the tunnel in solving the problem within nursing and medicine for a “long time".

The trust was not meeting a range of targets and Mr Crowley said it was the “most depleted scorecard” he had ever presented to an AGM.

The figures showed the trust failed Government-set guidelines for treating emergency department patients in four hours and patients receiving treatment 18 weeks after they have been referred by a GP.

It also failed to treat enough patients referred to the trust with suspected cancer within 62 days.