The chairman of a hospital trust has resigned over financial errors.
Calum Paton and four non-executive directors of University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust will quit as soon as replacements are found.
Two sets of auditors did not pick up on an overspend of £18m and Mr Paton said the board takes full responsibility. A £9m overspend was predicted.
He blamed changes in national policy, Private Finance Initiatives and new pay schemes for staff.
The trust's finances will be affected for the next three years.
In a statement Mr Paton said: "We take responsibility as a board for the fact that our expected deficit is larger than we predicted at the end of July.
"We would like to assure the public that we now have a robust and indeed radical service and cost-recovery strategy, which is being implemented.
"I and my colleague Non-Executive Directors believe that the ultimate responsibility for the governance of the Trust rests with us and that, however technical are the financial reporting issues referred to before, we should exercise that responsibility."
Mr Paton and the four others could depart as early as 3 January.
The University Hospital of North Staffordshire is expected to apply to become a Foundation Trust within the next two of years and work has begun on a revamp of the hospital costing £350m.