BOLTON NHS Foundation Trust’s debt has increased to £14.5 million — and bosses are preparing to be £18.6 million in deficit by the end of the financial year.

Health chiefs are relying on receiving a £6.8 million grant from health watchdog Monitor to see them through the final quarter of the financial year — but whether they will actually get the cash has not yet been confirmed.

The Trust, which must also save £50 million in three years, is being monitored by the health watchdog for financial failings.

It is losing £1.7 million each month and last year borrowed £10 million from the Department of Health to pay bills and staff wages.When Simon Worthington starts work on February 18 he will be the fourth director of finance at the Trust in five months.

Gary Raphael left by “mutual agreement” in September after it was revealed £3.8 million was “unaccounted” for at the Trust.

But despite the financial situation, the current interim director of finance, Andy Morris, who will leave the Trust this week, said that, in December, the trust did “better than forecast”.

This was despite an expected drop in income during December from fewer patients using out-patients and elective care over the festive period.

The Trust, which in October predicted its debt would be £12 million by the end of the financial year, had re-calculated the forecasted deficit to be £19.5 million.

But after the improvement in December, the figure was reduced by £900,000.

The Trust’s interim chairman, David Wakefield, said there was “no reason” the Trust would not be given the £6.8 million.

He attended a meeting with Monitor on January 31 and said it had been “positive”.

Mr Wakefield added: “They like the (turnaround) plan. They still need to see us turn the corner and implement the plans, but we are hoping to secure the funding that we require.

“Monitor is also concerned that we demonstrate that we maintain quality of care as well as bringing the costs down.”