A major hospital trust facing a £46.2m deficit this year has "breached the conditions of its licence", an NHS regulator announced today.

St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been slammed by Government watchdog Monitor for failing to have an "adequate recovery plan", which might force it to apply for several millions of pounds of additional funding.

Its NHS licence, which sets out standards of governance healthcare providers must meet for the benefit of patients, was found to have been breached due to the severity of its "worsening financial position".

The Trust, which is renowned for its A&E department in Tooting, has agreed to implement the regulator's financial plan to stop it from incurring the third largest deficit of any NHS Trust.

Miles Scott, chief executive of St George's said: "The decline in our operational and financial performance occurred at a time when the NHS nationally - particularly hospital trusts - was under a great deal of pressure.

"Whilst these operational pressures may have hit us harder than other trusts, we take full responsibility for getting the trust back on track financially."

"We have a challenging time ahead of us and are adamant that our increased focus on figures will not be at the expense of quality.

"Patient safety remains paramount. I am proud that we continue to have low mortality rates, impressive results in the national stroke services audit, and - from our most recent Care Quality Commission inspection - a rating of ‘good’ for our services overall, with some being highlighted as ‘outstanding’.

"We continue to strive for high standards and have confirmed a series of quality checks to sit alongside our saving plans. These will ensure that efficiencies will not compromise the care our staff provide."

The worrying financial forecast comes after a £16.8m financial loss at the Trust last year.

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'Deeply alarmed': Tooting MP Sadiq Khan 

Labour MP for Tooting Sadiq Khan said the revelation about the scale of St George's deficit was "deeply alarming" and claimed the hospital was being "starved of resources" by the Conservative Government.

He said: "My fear is that Londoners and the residents of Tooting in particular will now be the ones who pay the price for this, with treatments potentially being rationed to save money.

"While I’m glad to see that the hospital has agreed to work with the health regulator Monitor to improve its situation, I would urge the Government to now step up to the plate and ensure our hospitals have the finance they urgently need to keep providing the vital services on which Londoners rely."

Mark Turner, Monitor's regional director, said: "St George's faces some serious financial challenges and needs to act decisively, so that patients can continue to receive quality healthcare.

"Our action is designed to support the trust in getting a better grip on its finances by improving their financial management and planning.

"These steps if implemented effectively and promptly should enable the trust to stabilise its financial position and improve how it is run."