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Regulator proposes action to fix financial failings at Midland's trust

Monitor has proposed bringing in two highly experienced NHS leaders to turn around one of England’s largest foundation trusts.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust – which provides services for approximately 1.2 million people in Birmingham, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield and South Staffordshire - has been subject to regulatory action in the past to fix problems with its performance and management.

Monitor opened a further investigation into the trust on 1 October after it ran up a deficit of £29.5 million in five months. The investigation has now concluded and found that Heart of England is in breach of its licence to provide NHS services and significant action is needed to address this.

Following the decision of Les Lawrence to step down as Chairman at the end of November, Monitor is proposing to use its regulatory powers to appoint Jacqui Smith to the role on an interim basis. Under the proposals, she will be joined by Dame Julie Moore as interim Chief Executive. Both Dame Julie and Jacqui currently perform these roles at the neighbouring, high-performing University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB).

Jacqui Smith will continue in her role as Chair at UHB alongside her work at Heart of England. Dame Julie Moore will spend the vast majority of her time at Heart of England while fulfilling the Interim CEO role.

The proposal is currently with the board of Heart of England and will be presented to Monitor’s Provider Regulation Executive for final approval later this week.

Dr David Bennett, Chief Executive of Monitor, said:

The financial position of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust must be fixed. The trust must be in a position where it can provide the services that patients need for years to come.

We hope that bringing in two experienced NHS leaders will help the trust transform itself into one that consistently gives the quality of care patients expect and lives within its budget.”

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