FURTHER hospital services will have to be reviewed as Airedale NHS Trust works through its "riskiest plan" yet.

Its business plan, which looks at the challenges over the next three years, includes improving the quality and productivity of its workforce and reviewing services which are not key to meeting Government targets.

Doug Farrow, the director of planning and performance, said: "There are some very challenging targets we need to achieve. We have always had an element of risk built into our business plan, but this is the plan with the most risk I have seen in my seven years with the trust."

He said the key issue was balancing waiting list targets with managing its finances."We are very reliant on our partner organisations," he added.

But its partners - Airedale Primary Care Trust and Craven, Harrogate and Rural District PCT - face money problems themselves, and achieving financial balance means looking at what services can be delivered differently, or stopped altogether.

Airedale NHS Trust, with its partners, have identified 22 areas where potential savings could be made. It is already reviewing the future of services at Skipton Hospital, Ilkley's Coronation Hospital and Bingley Hospital.

And with the spare capacity more work can be taken on from other primary care trusts, which could reap £250,000 of income without extra cost.

o Talks are continuing over the future of Skipton Hospital.

Airedale NHS Trust chief executive Bob Allen said this week: "There isn't a quick solution available. We are being guided by the recent Government information 'Keeping the NHS Local'. This will provide the background to our discussions."