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Monitor intervenes again at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust

Monitor, the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts, has yesterday announced that it has used its formal powers of intervention for a second time at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust to ensure that the Board is leading the trust effectively on behalf of patients.

Monitor's Board found the Trust in significant breach of the terms of its Authorisation in October 2011. We intervened at that stage to appoint clinical experts to review underlying problems in maternity services and to require the trust to commission an independent review into overall governance.

We also required the trust to fix the problems identified by the reviews.

Monitor’s original concerns about governance and leadership at the trust have been reinforced by the findings of these reviews and an additional review into problems with outpatient follow-up appointments. Monitor’s Board has therefore decided to intervene to strengthen the leadership of the Trust so that it can quickly fix the problems identified, for the benefit of patients.

Monitor is therefore:

  • appointing Sir David Henshaw as interim Chair to drive the recovery of the trust;
  • requiring the Trust to appoint a Turnaround Director, to be agreed with Monitor, to develop and deliver an effective recovery plan;
  • instructing the Trust to create a Programme Management Office to support the Turnaround Director in delivering the recovery plan; and
  • requiring the Trust to appoint an interim Chief Operating Officer, to be agreed with Monitor, to run the day to day activities of the trust across all its hospital sites.

The Trust is required to report regularly on its progress in implementing the required actions and on addressing Monitor’s residual concerns.

Before the review of maternity services was complete, Monitor ensured that the Trust took immediate action to address the most urgent issues identified.

We continue to work closely with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to ensure that any concerns about patient safety and quality of care are addressed. The CQC has said that it would take immediate action if it felt there were any immediate threats to patient safety at the Trust.

Monitor’s action in strengthening the Board of the Trust will ensure that it is also able to deal more effectively with the issues raised in the CQC’s recent warning notice relating to staffing levels in the accident and emergency department at The Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Commenting on Monitor’s decision to intervene again at the Trust, Stephen Hay, Monitor’s Chief Operating Officer, said: "Our role is to make sure that the Board is running its hospitals well on behalf of patients. The action we are taking now is designed to strengthen the Trust’s Board so that it can move quickly and effectively to deal with the concerns identified.  Sir David Henshaw is an experienced Chair and it will be his job to take whatever action is necessary to fix the problems so that patient care is delivered to the standards they should be able to expect - now and in the future."

Notes

  1. For media enquiries please contact Michael Moruzzi on 020 7340 2438 or Michael.moruzzi@monitor-nhsft.gov.uk
  2. A copy of the statutory notice of intervention and Monitor’s letter to the Trust including supporting evidence related to the decision is available on Monitor’s website here: http://www.monitor-nhsft.gov.uk/home/about-nhs-foundation-trusts/regulat...
  3. Sir David Henshaw is currently Chair of Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and will remain in that position. He was previously Chair of NHS North West
  4. Monitor was established in January 2004. It is independent of government and accountable to Parliament. Monitor’s functions and powers are set out in the National Health Service Act 2006.
  5. Monitor is now on Twitter - follow us @MonitorUpdate

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