SOUTHAMPTON'S hospitals have fallen even further into financial crisis, the Daily Echo can reveal.

Health chiefs are more than £2.5m worse off than they were in April - despite five months of massive cutbacks.

Bosses at the trust which runs Southampton General Hospital set themselves a target of saving £15m by April 2005 to keep the situation under control.

As many as 400 posts including admin staff and agency workers have been axed and a range of other cost cutting measures put in place.

But the Daily Echo has learned that every single savings target has been missed.

Trust chiefs have admitted they are still to agree plans that would save the full £15m, even though they are almost halfway to their deadline.

They remain confident the savings can be made but face being replaced by troubleshooters brought in by the Department of Health if they fail.

Are the cuts hitting patient care? Have you been affected? Contact the Daily Echo newsdesk at, by telephone on 023 8042 4520 or write to Newsdesk, Southern Daily Echo, Newspaper House, Test Lane, Redbridge, Southampton SO16 9JX.

Full story on pages two and three.