THE trust that runs York Hospital is facing an unprecedented £11 million debt and staff have been told to put spending on hold until April.

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has asked staff to put finances on lockdown for the next ten weeks to make sure it does not "irreparably damage its finances" by the end of this financial year.

No non-essential new staff are to be recruited, and costs are not to be incurred unless absolutely necessary.

It has been a tough year for the hospital trust which has struggled to make £25.8 million savings required by the Government.

A trust spokesperson said: “Like the majority of NHS Trusts, we are facing a deficit and predict that we will end the year with a deficit of £11million, which is unprecedented for our organisation.

“Although there has been some recognition at a national level of the pressures facing hospitals, and the tariff settlements (a nationally agreed set price for work) and business rules for next year are more favourable, it is vital that we take action for the remainder of this financial year to make sure we do not irreparably damage our finances, our capital programme and our ability to continue to make investment choices.

“We are therefore taking short term measures to improve our position between now and the end of the financial year.

“In particular we are asking staff to defer any spending that is not absolutely immediately critical to the provision of clinical services. We are also asking staff to defer recruitment to vacant roles where it is safe to do so, however not if this results in the use of agency or locum staff.”

The hospital has an annual budget of about £450million and has until recently operated within budget. In 2013/14 it finished the year with a surplus of about £200,000 and last year with a deficit of about £2.1million.

Recruitment will continue to essential clinical positions, the trust said.

Last week The Press reported NHS watchdog Monitor was keeping a close eye on the York trust's finances and was considering whether to start an investigation.

It had rated the financial sustainability of the trust as 2 on a scale where 1 indicates the most serious risk and 4 the least risk and will consider proposals made by the trust to recover its financial position.